Sunday August 20, 2017
By: Shereen G. Eldin
“If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.” – Matthew Quick, The Silver linings playbook
Down, a four-lettered syndrome, a heart-breaking challenge to some and a superpower to others. That is what-now friends-Nada and Nura thought as they sent off their special talented sisters to a special education school. With a sky high tuition bill, and a student skill development outlook that was lacking at best, they put their heads together, pooled their resources and thought about what they could really do to enhance their sisters’ lifestyles, grow their abilities and change the way society views them.
“The first idea that came to mind was to open a Café. I researched to see if there were similar initiatives and I found Hugs Café in the US” said Nada, Seba’s sister and co-founder of The Four Biscuits.
Slowly but surely, they started having their hearts and their heads set on an idea that will not only turn their sisters’ life around, but shake up the very foundation of down syndrome stigma and stereotyping in modern day society. With a lot of determination, a dash of good hope and a leap of faith, their next big move towards realizing that aspiration was writing a business plan that was submitted to the European Cu selected out of nearly 600 applications by the European Culture Foundation (ECF). After their victory in the selection process, they then traveled to Spain, made their pitch to the committee and came back and purchased their equipment.
With Nada, Nura and Sherine (who are Sherihan’s sisters), their talented sisters Seba & Sherihan and two of their school friends – Menna & Heidi, The Four Biscuits came to life. The Four Biscuits is not just a commercial project, but also an initiative that aims to empower youth with Down Syndrome by providing them training on baking skills and selling their products in local markets and online.
In technicality, the project entails two biscuits rolling the dough and two biscuits zesting lemons and working on fondant decorations. The four girls are distributed amongst the two working stations on the basis of talent and ability. They have been operating under the supervision of their sisters in a safe environment as part of their training since the project was inaugurated a month and a half ago, and are now considered pro biscuit bakers.
For now, the four biscuits are working from the roof of Nada’s house. They take orders over a Facebook page for specialty biscuits baked by specialty humans until they can afford to open the café they dreamed of. They plan to expand after the first six months to train and employ the talents of more special-abled people and perhaps, turn their lives around too.
The Four biscuits-an idea that came from a very special place- continues to stubbornly challenge and ruthlessly abolish the stereotypes associated with Down syndrome and transcend the boundaries of what society once deemed them capable of.
***If you liked this article, subscribe to the magazine and receive our articles in your email.