KALYANI SONI

First time mum, ex-entrepreneur, consultant, fashion merchandiser

I always wanted to be self employed and do something that connected business with my passion. Supporting the community around me was always important to my commercial sensibilities.

Over a cool Dubai winters day and a visit to the craft store, I realised that I missed guided, mindful parent-child interaction. Lonely in my new role and in this adopted home city, I found herself relying too often on social media suggestions. They definitely worked as trusted recommendations but I yearned for physical interaction with fellow mums facing a similar mix of emotions. It was easy yet difficult to find the right tribe for support.

This journey thus started with a need to provide engaging activities for parents and children while creating a community focussed over the concept. The concept was an activity and reading subscription service which is where the name Peekado comes from.

On holiday aboard a cruise ship though, my bibliophile family members encouraged me to stick to promoting books which were so close to my heart since early childhood. My parents took us to the book store routinely and unlike any other stores, there was no limit on how many we could buy. I remember going through phases in life when I would have a book on me at all times in case I had 30 seconds free to read. Reading was always my preferred choice of spending idle time in any situation. Books were always a way to transport myself into a world of make believe and imagination which was always more magical than the movies later made on the books.

So here I am, sharing my passion for books and reading with the world of little humans who come with big brains that need nurturing. There is research to show that babies are born with a fully developed emotional system as their brains and bodies learn to grow slowly. I find that books are such an important tool in calming them, getting their attention, working through emotions, introducing new ideas.
There is no better feeling for me than to see my son’s eyes widen and sense wheels in their brains turn with the pages of a book!

PROUDLY SUPPORTING THE WALKING SCHOOL BUS

The Walking School Bus is a research-based Registered Charity with the ultimate goal to provide access to education. It achieves this by working with its partner-communities to enhance Transportation to get students to school safely, Nutrition to ensure students have proper sustenance to focus and learn, and Curriculum to help enhance student literacy and enhance their education.

In collaboration with its partner-schools in India and Uganda, The Walking School Bus establishes a unique program with each community to enhance educational outcomes. The ultimate goal is to provide and enhance education through its holistic, research-based approach of (1) Transportation, (2) Nutrition, and (3) Curriculum.
 
While searching for solutions to the problem of access to education, TWSB researchers learned that when students would arrive at school, they did not have adequate access to Nutrition – a prerequisite for education. Finally, while working in the classrooms, it was discovered that high rates of teacher absenteeism and a lack of teacher fluency were obstacles that negatively impacted student literacy – the number one predictor of academic success. TWSB then started working to improve curriculum through an innovative reading application called SiMBi in their Solar-powered Classrooms.
 
The Walking School Bus works with multiple partner communities in both India and Uganda to problem solve educational access! Learn more and get involved at http://thewalkingschoolbus.com

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