Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022
Hello OjO community,
It’s great to e-meet you! For those who don’t know me, I want to take the opportunity to re-introduce myself to our community of STEAM learners. I’m Maha, the Founder & CEO at OjO. In this blog, I’ll be reflecting on my journey as a Founder, and also sharing some exciting news for 2022!
In 2017 I left my extremely well-paid Corporate Career to create a startup that solves real world problems. Watching the Brexit and US elections campaigns over the last few years, it was evident that some of the determining factors driving people to vote are some of the most basic unmet needs – education, healthcare, housing! I was always passionate about education, having a mother who was an educator and spending most of my after-school life helping her in her classroom. When my first-born child turned 4 years of age and wouldn’t stop doing daily science experiments and building Lego models, I discovered an untapped and exciting world of STEAM learning and play and there began my journey into developing games and toys for future innovators.
According to the US Department of Labor, more than 65% of today’s students will have careers that do not exist yet. At OjO we believe that play is the vehicle to make educating kids for the future of work more exciting. Not only do our STEAM games and toys make learning relatable, but they also give kids the opportunity to engage in creativity and express themselves while having fun.
In the early days, one of the things that kept me going was seeing how our community responded to the product. A few months after we launched our Which Way? coding puzzle, I remember seeing a YouTube video showcasing a little boy playing with the product and it truly opened my eyes as to the impact we could have through our toys and games.
I also want to talk about failure, which is something we purposefully build into our games and toys. Exposing kids to failure early, and often, gets them into the right mindset to be future changemakers—comfortable with not accepting the state of things as final, of trying something, failing, then trying again. It shows them how to be resilient—especially girls, who interpret failure differently than boys. When girls make mistakes, they often interpret them as a lack of ability. While boys attribute failure to more controllable circumstances. We especially encourage kids to fail early and often in STEAM subjects as this builds confidence and experience in subjects that are typically considered as tough and not for everyone.
Ultimately my goal is to inspire and empower kids to be changemakers. We are leaving them a world full of big epic challenges: social, political, financial, environmental, and the best thing we can do for them is to give them to tools to be fearless and to be creative so they can invent the world they want to live in. Professor Seymour Papert, the Father of Constructionism (learning through making), said it perfectly: “We need to produce people who know how to act when they are faced with situations for which they were not specifically prepared.”
Exciting News! Can you keep a secret?
I also wanted to mention that we have brand new and exciting products launching next month! We’ll also be launching two SUPER COOL, NEW games this year, one that teaches kids about DNA and Genetics, the other that introduces them to the world of Marine Biology! For all the little space fans out there, you’ll be delighted to know that our Space Rescuers Game has now been upgraded with 100 flash cards! Anyone who own’s this game will be given a replacement deck of cards!
OjO has partnered with the UN to support their United Nations Sustainability Development Goals for 2030 as we specifically integrate some of the UN’s sustainable development goals into our products.
We hope you’ll love them as much as we have enjoyed creating them for you!
Hope to speak soon,