Tuesday 14 May 2019

Ramadan Blog Hop 2019

Hello all and Ramadan Kareem!

Every year in the run up to Ramadan we prepare by making a huge pot of Harira soup, which is a soup that 99% of Moroccans eat to break the fast.  

Many Moroccans believe that harira is a symbol of Ramadan and it is normally served in colourful bowls and traditionally eaten with small ladel-like wooden spoons.  

The soup itself is very comforting and easy to digest after a day of fasting.

Our family in Morocco would start preparing the soup  in the afternoon and its delicious aroma can be smelt all around the medina.  All of the families in the neighborhood have a different recipe which is a constant source of debate during the Holy Month.

The soup consists of  tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, usually some meat for flavor, and plenty of fresh herbs—parsley, coriander (cilantro) and celery leaves.
Shopping in the Moroccan markets is such a pleasurable, sensuous experience but unfortunately when we are back in Scotland, we have to make do with shopping in the local supermarket.

However we are lucky enough to have an excellent Turkish supermarket in our neighborhood which stocks excellent olive oil from the beautiful town of Moulay Idriss in Northern Morocco.

We like to serve the soup with lemon, coriander and extra seasoning.  It is an excellent soup to cook with children as there are so many bright, colourful ingredients and vegetables to chop.  Here is our recipe - feel free to adapt to whatever spices you have in your cupboards as our Moroccan friends and family do and enjoy!!!

Malika and Ameenah's Moroccan Harira
  • 450g diced lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 90g celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 (25g) pack fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 (400g) tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1.7 litre water
  • 145g green lentils
  • 1 (410g) tin chick peas, rinsed, drained
  • 115g vermicelli
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  1. Place the lamb, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, butter, celery, onion and coriander into a large soup pot over a low heat. Stir frequently for 5 minutes. Pour tomatoes (reserve juice) into the mixture and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour tomato juice, 1.7 litre water and the lentils into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Let soup simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
  3. About 10 minutes before serving turn the heat to medium-high, place chick peas and spaghetti into the soup, let cook about 10 minutes (until spaghetti are al dente). Stir in lemon and cook for 1 minute.
Serve and enjoy!!!

Ramadan for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its fifth annual Ramadan & Eid for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan & Eid. Don't forget to check out our blog hops from last year, 2017, 2016, and 2015. Be sure to follow our Ramadan & Eid boards on Pinterest for even more ideas!

Participating Blogs

The Multilingual Home on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Eid Al-Fitr Around the World A Crafty Arab: Ramadan Indian Food Word Search Plus Book Review Family in Finland AlizehmySoul: How to Celebrate Green Ramadan - One Step at a Time! Multicultural Motherhood: Ramadan for Preschoolers

Thursday 2 August 2018

English and Arabic Street Class in Essaouira, Morocco for Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month

Mouchine Camel and the Street Language School, Essaouira, Morocco

Mouchine (far left) and his teaching assistants Malika and Ameenah (far right!)

THIS summer we were back in our Moroccan hometown of Essaouira and at the start of our trip we were delighted to meet the hugely charismatic and inspirational Mouchine Camel.  Mouchine is a teacher in the region of Essaouria and in his free time he runs an innovative street class which offers free language classes to children, young adults and tourists in Essaouira. As tourism is one of the main industries in Essaouira it is crucial for the young people to access language classes to allow them to access employment in the tourist trade.  

My daughters Malika and Ameenah helped assist in the classes and got to know many of the young adults and new emerging communities in Essaouira, such as the Senagalese Community, who have settled in Essaouira to work in tourism.   I hope that this experience helped my daughters to recognise and have a sense of their own privellege as second generation, dual heritage Moroccans!

One windy day over a pot of Moroccan Mint tea we sat down to talk to Mouchine about the street class and his hopes for the future of education in Morocco.

Salam Alaykum Mouhcine. We were so happy to meet you in Essaouira this summer and take part in English and Arabic Street class.  Why and when did you start this and who was your inspiration for this?
I started this project in Essaouira last July  as i saw the hunger in children to learn languages and the barrier of cost, which was preventing so many children to access language learning.  
In my day job I am a teacher for government schools in Morocco and I have been placed in various schools in the Essaouira region.  Becoming a teacher was a childhood dream of mine; in Morocco every child has a childhood dream to be a teacher.  However teaching in the street as we are doing now is very weird in Moroco!  I wanted to make a difference and I feel that in Morocco the street is often a place where people gather and learn together.
We offer language classes five days per week adults and the location is the street.  Five days per week I offer classes in Darija [Moroccan Arabic] for tourists and ex pats in Essaouira.  I also offer morning classes in English for Moroccan children and they love these classes!  Tourism is a major part of the economy in Essaouira so it is very useful for the children to learn english.  
In the evenings young adults attend a nightly language class which is predominantly english class although depending on our cohort of volunteers we also offer Spanish class.  One night per week we offer a street library where we encourage a love of literature and exchange of library books which are predominantly English Language.
I teach three hours per day and run this when I am on holiday from my government school job.  When I am teaching in the countryside I keep the project going and run it with a network of volunteers.
On average 200 children, young adults and tourists access the classes per week.  I am really proud that we offer these for free as I really believe education is so so transformative for our children in Morocco.

When did you qualify as a teacher?
Actually when i graduated from high school I went to university and got a bachelors degree in chemistry.  I started working for a private school teaching chemistry and physics.  I then joined a private school and  I just got my teaching diploma last year.

I understand from many years of coming to Morocco that life for teachers in Morocco is very difficult.  I also understand that it is difficult to talk openly about this because of fear over consequences of speaking out in Morocco.  Do you want to say anything about this?
I think that teachers are the most important people we have in society.  If we have good teachers they will guide the next generation well with integrity and wisdom.  What is happening now in Morocco is that the conditions are getting worse for teachers year in, year out.  In the countryside the situation for teachers is very difficult and we can face teaching with no electricty or water.  The biggest problem I feel that teachers face is a lack of dignity. 

Do you want to talk about your plans to support children in schools in the countryside.  What do you want to do and what are the current barriers?
There is a big difference in the quality of education in the rural and urban areas.  As everyone knows the urban children get a better quality of education and better opportunities.  In the countryside chidren are turning up hungry, often they are walking many kilometres to get to school and often barefoot.  They often turn up hungry.  I feel I need to fight for the children in the countryside to have the right to a good education. 
As I said before the children in the countryside suffer a lot in terms of material deprivation, with no water, electricity and health care.  I have just been posted to a school in the deep heart of the Essaouria region; it is four hours by bus and then another treachorous journey down a dangerous road.  The only way to get there is in a kidnapper taxi, which is a funny term we call these little taxis in Morocco.  It is a real challenge to work with the children in the countryside as they really need access to a quality education.  Girls in the countryside often finish school early to become child brides, so a big part of the work as a teacher in the countryside is to encourage their parents to keep them in school.  Another barrier to the children's education is lack of parental support; often the parents are functionally illiterate and would rather the children were at home with them helping them on the farm.  I will offer classes at weekends to support the parents with their own education and support them to understand the importance of education.  Despite some minor governmental support for rural families, it has not gone far enough to address the structural barriers in the countryside.

I understand that you have worked in the past in partnership with Project Soar 
who support Moroccan girls to remain in education.  Do you want to talk about this?
Yes, I worked in partnership with Project Soar last summer.  Project Soar organised girls to come to Essaouira from all over Morocco.  They were involved in painting areas all over the city.  It was really beautiful and the girls really enjoyed the opportunity to travel, to be together and to give back to the children of Essaouria.  Michelle Obama featured Project Soar in her We Will Rise documentary, which documents the Obama mission to see girls around the world educated, so it was a real pleasure to work in partnership with such a great organisation in Morocco. 

With your help, we can make this project reach further, reach more people and touch more lives positively because we believe in what Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
If you would like to support Mouhcine to bring supplies to children and families in the countryside such as warm clothing, teaching supplies for parenting classes and supplies for his street language classes in Essaouira, please click on the below link for his Just Giving page.'


Mouchine (far right) at his school in the Moroccan countryside in the Essaouira region

To follow the school on Facebook click here, 

Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Welcome to the fourth annual Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month blog hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs! Visit all the participating blogs below for great resources on teaching children about the heritage of this region. Don't miss our series from last year, 2016, and 2015! You can also find even more resources on our North Africa and the Middle East Pinterest board:

Participating Blogs
A Crafty Arab on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Family in Finland
Kid World Citizen

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Coco Chanel: Women in World History - A Multicultural Kids Blog Series

Image result for cc - coco chanel logo

For the 2018 Women In World History series, we decided to feature the fabulous and inspiring, Coco Chanel!  Malika has been very into fashion for many years as her Aunty Keng Keng is a fashion designer and milliner and has inspired her in the style leagues since she was a toddler!

Malika discovered the inspiring story of Coco Chanel through the amazing Little People, Big Dream series.  The story of Coco Chanel is brought to life in the book with enchanting illustrations and a simple storyline.

Malika was fascinated to hear the story of Coco, who was formerly called Gabrielle and sadly brought up in an orphanage after her mother died.  The nuns felt that Gabrielle was very different when she was growing up; whilst the other girls in the orphanage loved playing, Gabrielle loved sewing with a needle and thread.  

When Gabrielle was older she sang to make money and the people watching her called her Coco.  

Coco dreamt of designing clothes and in her dreams she saw fabulous patterns and designs!  One day she made a hat for her friend and the design was simple and very very elegant.

Eventually she opened a hat shop in Paris which became popular very quickly.  She designed clothes which were comfortable and elegant and revolutionised the way women dressed.

Coco showed women that they didn't have to wear sequins or corsets to be stylish.  Also Coco taught women that being different might make people think differently also.  

Coco Chanel was one of the most famous fashion designers that ever lived and remains one of the worlds most famed fashion icons.

Malika's book review:  "I think that Coco Chanel is a very good fashion designer and the book gives lots of good info  - I think the pictures in the book are very detailed.  I love the story about her - I think it is very interesting and you should definitely get the book.  My favourite bit is when she is in her shop creating clothes.
I also love it when she is dreaming of shapes especially the Double C's."

This wonderful short two minute film charts the rise of the young Gabrielle, who was raised in an orphanage and inspired by the austerity of the church architecture and the black and white of the nuns habit, and her rise to become the "Queen of Paris" and the liberated woman and great fashion designer Coco Chanel.
This film is an inspiring glimpse into the life of a fashion genius, who rose from a childhood of great adversity and austerity to become the one of the worlds most famous fashion designers.
How did Coco overcome her difficult childhood?  What made Coco resilient and gave her the drive to succeed in fashion and become a liberator of women's lifestyle and fashion?  Discuss with your children!

Malika: "This is my favorite Coco Chanel Quote.
I have loved fashion for a long time and I have deeply fallen in love with it.  I would like to make clothes and have a shop when I'm older.  If my customers don't have any money that is ok - I want everyone to feel happy and have a creative feeling that wearing nice clothes can give us!  Everyone has the right to have their own kind of style and money should not stop us!"

Malika received a sewing machine for a Christmas gift and we are just starting to find and buy lots of different colorful fabrics in charity shops and fabric stores.  Designing and sewing is a really creative hobby for children and is a really relaxing way to encourage your child in a creative activity.

Start small and dream big like our wonderful Coco Chanel.

Happy Easter y'all!

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs Join us for our annual Women's History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world! Don't miss our series from last year, 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest: Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Women's History on Pinterest.
March 2 Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Latinas Who Nevertheless Persisted March 6 Colours of Us: 30 Diverse Children's Anthologies About Trailblazing Women March 7 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: Women in History Spanish Children's Books March 12 Crafty Moms Share: Betty Before X Book Review March 13 Let the Journey Begin: Brilliant Latvian Women You've Probably Never Heard About March 14 Creative World of Varya: 5 Things I do to Empower My Multicultural Girls March 19 Madh Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How Telling Women's Stories Shapes Generations and Builds Resilience March 23 Ketchup Moms March 26 Melibelle in Tokyo March 27 A Crafty Arab March 29 Family in Finland March 30 Mama Tortuga
Don't miss our Women's History Month Activity Printables, on sale now! Women's History Month Activity Printables

Monday 26 March 2018

Malika on BBC CBeebies "My World Kitchen."

I am so so so proud of my dear Malika for starring in the new BBC Series, "My World Kitchen" which aired this Saturday in the UK.

Here is the link to her show!


Here is a master copy of the show if the link has expired...

If you are outside the UK or the link has expired you can view the show here :


Monday 15 May 2017

Ramadan Blog Hop 2017 - Childhood memories of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan

EHSAS Khan moved to Scotland last November to study for a PHD in film studies at Glasgow University; he is from Peshwar, North-West Pakistan.  In less than two weeks, Ehsas will enjoy his first Ramadan in Scotland.

Ehsas in the mountains outside Peshawar, North Pakistan 

Ehsas is joining us for today's blog-hop to talk about his Ramadan memories as a child in Peshawar.

Ehsas, Thank you for joining us today.  Are you looking forward to your first Ramadan in Scotland?

Yes, kind of!  I am used to observing Ramadan in Pakistan in 40 degrees heat whereas obviously Scotland is much colder.  However the days are much longer in Scotland and this makes fasting seem like a really difficult task.  Being away from family and friends during Ramadan is really hard because we are used to having iftar with our large, extended family.  In Peshawar we have special food bazaars and other stalls during Ramadan which sell food specialialities such as pakoras and kebabs during the Holy month. 
Scotland obviously is not a muslim majority country so it does not have these tradtions and there is not such a special feeling during our Holy month.

Ehsas, can you tell us about some of your childhood memories of Ramadan in Peshawar?

I remember before Iftar (evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset) my family would sit outside on the mat on the floor in the family yard; my Granny would make Pakora's and other females in the family would make different dishes.  We used to have at least 8-12 different dishes for each Iftar. 
I always found Sahar (pre-dawn meal before fasting) really difficult and boring for me as it was so difficult for me to wake up.
During Ramadan we would have a half-day at school and we would come home earlier than normal to have fun and play cricket or hide and seek! 
At Eid we would receive new traditional clothes and shoes such as shalwar-kameez and shoes such as Peshwari chapal, which are special in my area.
I have happy memories of this time in my childhood; we (my brothers and sister) loved receiving Eid-y, money for Ramadan which was given to us by the elders in my family. 

When I was a child I also loved listening to Na'at which is poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him.  Na'at is particular to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We listened to Na'at from loudspeakers in our village.  Junaid Jamshed was a former pop-star who became a Na'at khwa (a person who recites Na'at), and my family were massive fans of his.

Thannks for joining us on the Multi-cultural Kids Blog-Hop today Ehsas and we hope that you enjoy your first Ramadan in Scotland!

The holy month of Ramadan, which begins at the end of May this year, is an important month for Muslims across the world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is an important month for Muslims as it is the month when the Qur’an was first reveled to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and is considered to be the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.
I remember explaining Ramadan for the first time to my kids, Leah and Jaf. They were fascinated by the fact that people fast from sunrise to sunset. The older they get, the easier it becomes for them to understand why we as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. It’s more than just fasting during the daylight hours - the holy month of Ramadan serves as a time of reflection, spending more time with the family, being grateful for everything we have, and providing to those in need.
Each fast is broken at the end of the day by a meal known as Iftar which in Arabic means, breakfast. Iftar is served at sunset during the month of Ramadan, and breaking the fast usually starts off by eating dates and drinking some water.
easy iftar recipes

A typical Iftar spread[/caption]
After prayers are said, then friends and family sit down to enjoy a filling meal that consists of salad, soup, various appetizers, rice, plenty of meats, and a whole dessert spread. Iftar is a social meal, and you’ll often find yourself with plenty of invites to come break your fast from friends, family, and even neighbors!
One of the kids favorite easy Iftar recipes is a simple Middle Eastern chicken and rice dish that I’ve been making ever since they were young. The recipe requires very little prep, and is ready in about an hour’s time - it’s also a great way for the kids to be involved in Iftar preparations - Jaffer likes to measure out all the spices that go into the recipe, and also helps me toast the slivered almonds while the rice is cooking.

Easy Iftar Recipes: Middle Eastern Chicken & Rice

easy iftar recipesIngredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • salt to taste


  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add in garlic and the ground beef along with the cinnamon, and pepper. Cook until the beef is evenly browned.
  2. Then add in the chicken stock, season with salt and add in the chicken breasts. Cover the skillet and cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pan and mix in the rice. Cover the skillet again and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Add more salt if required.
  4. While the rice is cooking, lightly toast the almonds in a pan. Stir often, making sure they do not burn.
  5. Once the rice is ready, garnish with pine nuts and serve.
easy iftar recipes
What are your favorite Ramadan recipes? Let us know in the comments below!
Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its third annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan. Don't forget to check out our blog hops from last year and 2015. Be sure to follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest for even more ideas and link up your own posts below!

Participating Blogs

Pint Size Gourmets on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Easy Iftar Recipes - Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice Middle Way Mom: All Things Ramadan Jeddah Mom: Why Muslims Give Fitra Before Eid in Ramadan? Sand in My Toes: 6 Ways to Get Kids Involved During Ramadan A Crafty Arab: 2017 Ramadan Crafts 30 Day Challenge Family in Finland: Childhood Memories of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan

Sunday 26 March 2017

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Women in World History - A Multicultural Kids Blog Series

  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was born on November 12th 1978, and is a Pakistani journalist, filmmaker and activist. 
  • She has won many awards for her films such as Academy awards and Emmy Awards and she is the only Pakistani to have won two Oscars.
  • In 2012, the Pakistani government awarded her with the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honour of the country.
  • In 2012, Time Out named her as one of the most influential people in the world. 
  • She is one of only 11 female directors who has won an Oscar for a non-fiction film.

Sharmeen was born in the city of Karachi in Pakistan.  Can you find it on the map?

Bahadur 3 (which means three brave ones) is a 3D animation which Sharmeen produced and directed in 2015.  It was the first computer animated feature length film in Pakistan. The story focusses on three eleven year old friends who want to protect their community from the evils that have invaded their city.
The film was the highest grossing animation in Pakistani cinema and the 7th highest-grossing film of Pakistan to date.

After you have watched Bahadur 3, you can discuss with your child:
  1. Which superpower would you like to have - super speed, super hearing or super intelligence?
  2. Who was your favourite character in the film - Saadi, Kamil or Amna?
  3. Would you like to become a film-maker and if so which kind of film would you like to make?

After you have watched the clip, discuss what your child thinks about the fact it is difficult for many girls in Pakistan to get an education.  My daughter Malika was horrified and wanted to run a poster campaign in Leith, the area we live in Edinburgh, as you can see from the below poster and the Instagram link, which is a video of Malika in full activist flow!!

As a follow on from the discussions on Sharmeen, you could explore the life story of another great Pakistani female activist, Malala Yousafzai.

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and my daughters, Malika and Ameenah, never tire of hearing this inspiring story...

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs Join us for our annual Women's History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don't miss our series from 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest: Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Women's History on Pinterest.
March 1 modernmami on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Reasons Why We Celebrate Women's History Month March 2 The Jenny Evolution: More Children's Books About Amazing Women March 3 Colours of Us: 32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models March 6 modernmami: 103 Children's Books for Women's History Month March 7 A Crafty Arab: The Arab Woman Who Carved Exquisite Beauty into Science March 8 Hispanic Mama: 5 Children's Books About Latina Women March 9 MommyMaestra: Free Download - Women's History Month Trading Cards March 10 MommyMaestra on MommyMaestra on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Women's History Month March 13 Crafty Moms Share: First Ladies and Eleanor Roosevelt March 14 Mama Smiles: Write Down Your Family's Women's History March 15 Bookworms and Owls: Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Associate Justice of the Supreme Court March 16 Creative World of Varya: 6 Quotes About Women from Various Religious Writings March 17 Knocked Up Abroad: 7 Ways Swedish Women Can Revolutionize Your Life Today March 20 La Cité des Vents on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Women in History or Women's Stories? March 21 Pura Vida Moms March 22 Melibelle in Tokyo: After Devestation, Life - Miki Sawada Mothers 2,000 March 23 All Done Monkey: Girls Who Changed the World March 24 playexplorelearn March 27 Family in Finland March 28 the piri-piri lexicon March 30 Let the Journey Begin
Don't miss our Women's History Month Activity Printables, on sale now! Women's History Month Activity Printables

Sunday 29 January 2017

Four ways to teach your child about Kenya: Global Learning for Kids Series

WOULD you like to learn more about Kenya and hear stories from our friend Ammara, who has just moved from Kenya to Northern Ireland?

Please click on the below link to take you to our post on Kenya, which is part of the Global Learning for Kids Series, and part of the MultiCultural Kids Blog.