During a regular class

During a regular class

Haraka: Arabic is disliked among kids, how do we change that?

Haraka is a cross collaborative multidisciplinary project that spans on a period of three months. As a team we focus on human-led design research methodolgies and testing to come up with creative solutions for integrating Arabic in schools using movement and play as a main theme.


This project was under an Umbrella Design project of Desmeem. Desmeem is a cross-cultural design project that aims to promote the awareness of design as a multidisciplinary problem solving tool for social and environmental issues. It is organized by the MENA Design Research Center in Beirut.


We started by going to the school a few times a week. We met the kids, and the teachers. We observed how they played. We sat in on their courses and even participated in them.

Paradis D'enfant school in Lebanon

Paradis D'enfant school in Lebanon

Our observation led us to discover that the education system led by the school is quite good. The classes are animated and quite dynamic. There is a spatial problem though when kids transition from preschool to first grade. The classes become more rigid, and that agitation must be contained according to school rules. Kids are put on desks of two, they are forced to stay quiet, and all that bottled up energy has no where to go.


A short animation that explains what Haraka is about in an abstract sense. Haraka is a project that explored why kids move away from Arabic to think creatively in schools. They often resort to English and French. That is quite natural because the storybooks and tales tha are from Western culture. In this video, we see, how we can change this.

The small dots are the kids that go play in their playspace that is rich in Arabic puns and writings that we have created. Learning is best when it is fun, and especially when it is coupled with movements of the body. Through motion and play they then take this excitement to the classroom and from the classroom home.


As a team we hosted a workshop with the children. We presented them with a book written in Arabic and illustrated in the Arabic way. The book puts forward questions about surreal situations, it also encourages kids to fill it in with creative and surreal continuations. We had them then ideate with the book, while having fun.

We had physical interventions in the space as well and from the ideation we saw that they were more responsive to things that suggested a spatial zone rather than photographs on walls.