“I was bullied as a child many times while I was growing up. There was a lot of verbal and emotional bullying. I didn’t feel safe or protected at all. “
“However, there was one thing that gave me a sense of joy and strength, and even security as a child, which was song and music,” said Illani, co-founder of CreaTee Kit. , with Vulcan Post.
As a strong believer in the power of the arts in healing, Illani was passionate about creating an artistic outlet for children to find the same joy and security as she does in the arts.
Therefore, she and her sister, Masliza, founded CreaTee Kit, a social business that produces DIY t-shirt kits for children ages 5 to 12. They are meant to develop emotional intelligence and be a fun activity for kids and their parents. art together.
What do t-shirts have to do with bullying?
A CreaTee kit includes a t-shirt or bag as well as art supplies like stencils, googly eyes, glue, paint, batik, markers, 3D paint, and fabric markers.
There are a variety of animal stencils to choose from such as a rabbit, giraffe, cat, etc. Their t-shirt and canvas kits retail for RM68 per kit each, and they also have a subscription box which costs RM220 for 4 months. They also run workshops on how to make these craft kits for kids.
For those of us who are not too familiar with early childhood education, it might not be so easy to understand the connection between the creation of these t-shirts and the way they help to struggle. against bullying in an overview.
“Bullying occurs because of a lack of trust on both sides, the bully and the bully. Our mission is to sow the seeds of confidence and self-esteem through the creative process at a young age, to build their emotional intelligence so that things don’t progress negatively as they grow up ”, a Illani explained.
Illani added that the pillars of emotional intelligence include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy.
How their DIY kits catalyze emotional intelligence is that when a child uses their kit, it encourages deliberate thinking and decision making during the creation process, which helps develop self-awareness.
And since their creation process requires a lot of focus, it allows kids to be able to finish the job and in return feel accomplished for completing their art, which ultimately adds to their self-confidence and emotional intelligence.
In addition, since their parents can work with their children on this craft, parents can get to know their child better and are able to identify any behavioral problems in their child.
Giving back to underprivileged children
As a social enterprise, they donate part of their profits to organize free t-shirt workshops for underprivileged children, such as those in PPR apartments, refugee groups like the Rohingya, schools in Orang Asli, etc.
Speaking of which, during one of their workshops with children living in PPR apartments, they met a girl who spoke only Tamil and was quite terrified when she first entered the full workshop. foreigners.
“There was a lot of hand gestures and persuasion to get her to do the activity, and she ultimately managed to do it brilliantly. At the end of the session, she put on her t-shirt and spent time with other children. She even helped clean up the whole space when everyone was gone. This girl walked away with a proud smile of her accomplishment, and that’s the impact our work has on building esteem and emotional intelligence, ”Illani said.
One of the main challenges Illani and Masliza face with this social enterprise is helping people understand the impact they are trying to have with these DIY kits.
“We’ve had comments where parents say the end product might not look good. Therein lies the misunderstanding. The beauty of CreaTee is in the process, not in the end product. No matter how the t-shirt comes out, the kids are more than happy because it’s theirs, ”Illani said.
They also found that there are parents who don’t take their startups seriously because the use of the arts in the impact they are trying to have is frivolous for some.
“Parents prefer to buy new clothes or electrical gadgets. Some people cannot ignore the fact that they have to design the t-shirt themselves instead of buying a ready-to-wear one.
“Again, we think it’s about educating Malaysians about alternative learning. And parents have to want to spend time with their kids, ”the sisters told Vulcan Post.
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Since they helped connect the dots for me on how DIY t-shirts can help with emotional intelligence, it’s now clearer how they’re trying to get the impact they want through them. arts.
However, it was a process that they had to share with me widely so that I could get the big picture of it all. For parents who only have a few minutes of their free time, it can still be difficult to grasp the importance of what they are doing. However, making art as a means of achieving emotional intelligence has been studied with positive results.
CreaTee Kit may also take the opportunity to reach out to more educators to expand their reach and impact, and perhaps one day may also be involved in national anti-bullying campaigns through their work.
- You can read more about CreaTee Kit here.
- You can read more social enterprises than we wrote here.
Featured Image Credit: Illani and Masliza, Co-Founders of CreaTee Pencil case
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