Each Zeki Learning product is made from start to finish by our talented artisans in the West Bank, Palestine. Our team has now grown to include 6 full-time artisans and 22 part-time artisans from Zababdeh and its neighboring villages. As nearly all of our employees are mothers, they have a special connection to the products they make.
Zeki Learning’s dedication to its artisans has been recognized both locally and internationally. The supportive nature of our organization has become well known in local communities, with new applications received each week from Palestinian women interested in working for Zeki Learning. In addition to this local recognition, our work has been endorsed by the Fair Trade Federation. Our Fair Trade certification is a reflection of our promise to provide fair wages to our employees, support marginalized communities, and implement sustainable manufacturing practices, such as upcycling fabric scraps.
Zeki Learning is a part of Child’s Cup Full, a 501(c)3 non-profit social enterprise. The idea for Child's Cup Full began in 2008, when Dr. Janette Habashi, a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oklahoma, accompanied her students on a small fundraising initiative to support grassroots education programs for refugee children in the West Bank. The local Palestinian community appreciated their assistance but a group of mothers approached Dr. Habashi, looking for a long term solution to their economic difficulties and asked if she could help find them jobs. As the local economy does not offer reliable work to women, Dr. Habashi knew that finding these women reliable work would be extremely challenging.
After much contemplation, Dr. Habashi knew the best solution would be creating jobs for these local mothers. Thus, Child’s Cup Full was born. Despite not having any background in business, Dr. Habashi was committed to helping these women and this brave decision was supported by her community at the University of Oklahoma, so long as she took the business courses they recommended.
After a semester of business classes, Dr. Habashi set out on developing a brand that could utilize her background in educational psychology, and the mother’s desire to work. This led to the creation of Zeki Learning. Zeki Learning is a children’s educational resource brand committed to creating high-quality learning materials for preschool-age children that support cognitive development and language learning. The brand exclusively employs women from Zabedeh and it’s neighboring villages, where access to work is particularly scarce.
As word began to circulate about Child’s Cup Full and the jobs it was creating, more and more women began approaching the organization for work. In order to help more women, Dr. Habshi decided to form a second brand under CCF. Inspired by the prevalent knowledge of Tatreez embroidery in the region, Dr. Habashi decided to create Zeki’s sister brand, Darzah.
Zeki Learning and Darzah have grown to include 6 full-time artisans and 22 part-time artisans. CCF has created an artisan center, located in Zababdeh, where our artisans come together to build community and work in an uplifting environment. Women from the community continually contact us in search of job opportunities. As we grow, we are able to hire more women and offer our current artisans additional training, and that is why growth is central to our company. Each purchase supports our training and employment programs in the West Bank.
Zeki Learning products are designed by experienced teachers and educators for use in the classroom and home. Zeki Learning resources are utilized in numerous classrooms, such as Head Start centers, Montessori early childhood centers and other children development centers across the United States and Europe . Each Zeki Learning product encourages the growth and development of cognitive and physical development such as fine motor skills, sensory skills, language development, and emotional intelligence. In addition, these learning materials are resources for family members to engage in fun interactions with children.
Zeki Learning products comply with the standards and regulations for small batch children’s products required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This ensures that the materials used in all Zeki Learning Products are non-toxic and safe for extensive use by children. Zeki Learning products are free of lead, phthalates, and heavy metals.