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Draw It: “The bridge between your emotions and how to express it”

(Photo: Handout from Dania Mubaiden )

AMMAN — It offers a way for children to express themselves “without saying any word,” 18-year-old founder Dania Mubaiden said of her project “Drawit”. Drawit, both a mobile application set to be launched soon and a book, is aimed at helping children express their feelings by drawing shapes that identify specific problems, Mubaiden told Jordan News.اضافة اعلان

The project furthermore hopes to help parents understand problems their children are experiencing. According to Mubaiden, it works by giving various different shapes specific meanings and allowing the children to select which shapes they identify with. This way “when the children decide on the shapes that express who they are, the parents will understand,” the entrepreneur explained.

Mubaiden started the project in 2019 at 14 years old. Since then, both her and her team have been hard at work developing it.

The entrepreneur said she drew her inspiration for the application from her own childhood. She explained that when her mother had cut her hair “very short”, she couldn't express how she felt about her new hairstyle until a psychiatrist got involved. “There was this doctor ... that knew (I was upset because) my mom cut my hair in a very short style, just from my drawing,” Mubaiden said.

This interaction piqued Mubaiden’s curiosity. “How was this doctor able to understand my mental health, when my own mother, who was supposed to be one of the closest people to me, couldn't?” she asked herself. This question sparked the idea for Drawit. “Instead of only the doctors being able to understand the mental health of children,” she explained, she wanted Drawit to be able to help parents so that “anyone can understand their (children’s) mental health.”

However, when the pandemic first struck Jordan in March 2020, Mubaiden faced major setbacks in developing the application. “Drawit is based on what we try on the kids,” she explained. The effectiveness of the process had to be tested. “Are our perspectives right or wrong? We needed to test our theories,” the entrepreneur said. These questions remained unanswered as study participants, given the nationwide lockdown, were not readily available.

Since then, Mubaiden and her team have started rebuilding the project. “We're back, we're attempting new things, but the experiments have lessened in a drastic way,” she said.

In 2020, Mubaiden’s brainchild won the MIT Enterprise Forum’s Arab Startup Competition and Zain Jordan’s "Zain Initiative 4" competition. The entrepreneur explained that, for her, winning is motivated by two things. The first is the feeling of accomplishment, the entrepreneur said, adding, “When you win a competition, you feel like (you’re) doing something that has meaning.” The second is “the money,” although not specific amounts, she explained. “You need that push until the people can see you and you build something.”

Mubaiden has also published a Drawit book, which she describes as a self-expression drawing book. With it, the author hopes to receive feedback from participants to ensure the accuracy of the Drawit application.

Although she’s not finishing up with the project any time soon, Mubaiden said that “it's not the last thing we're planning on doing. We're trying to build more than one tool.” The first version of the app may be released as early six months from now.

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