Each One Teach One

TYO had the opportunity to interview APWE entrepreneur Ma’ali Diab about her educational tools business that facilitates learning for people with diverse cognitive abilities. Ma'ali Diab pauses for a photograph at TYO's flagship center in Nablus.

Tell us about yourself and how you started your business:

I am a pharmacist and studied at An-Najah University. I am married and have two children. I do not own a pharmacy and most recently worked at a money exchange store. As my eldest son began to grow up, I realized that he was incredibly intelligent and that his cognitive abilities far exceeded any educational tools available in Palestine. Both my son and I endured a very difficult period as my son was underwhelmed in school and developed behavioral problems. Conversely, it was evident very early on in his development that my second son had a learning disability. Ultimately, I was confronted with the same problem: there were no educational tools for my son that would address his cognitive needs. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started attending conferences and workshops where I began to meet teachers, psychologists, and social workers and inquire about the types of educational tools required for both disabled and advanced students. I started to develop multi-level books and games for children who fall on a wide range of the learning spectrum.

How did you learn about the Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs (APWE) program?

I first learned about APWE at the Tulkarem Rural Women’s Association. Because I studied pharmacy, I had absolutely no experience creating a business or financial plan. Through APWE I have learned how to correctly price my products and how to balance my income and expenses. I joined APWE because I am a new entrepreneur and I want to learn how to operate my business well and I am very excited for all of the networks APWE will open up for me.

How have you benefited from the training and coaching sessions so far?

Because of the training and coaching sessions, I have learned how to create a market research study and how to find my target customers. I traveled to Ramallah for the first time in my life on February 1 and I have already started to implement my marketing plan. I know that the market is much wider in Ramallah and I can more easily find companies, associations, and organizations that are developing and selling educational tools. I look forward to learning how to connect with investors, acquire a loan, and access start-up capital.

Interview conducted and translated by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator