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  • Writer's pictureRebekah Qu

The Power of Play: How Indigrow Educates About Identity, Diversity, and Inclusion



Indigrow started when Kshama Alur, originally from India, had the desire for her future child to grow up confident in their multicultural identity and culturally aware. Kshama and her friend Akhila Das Blah, an early childhood expert, embarked on creating a platform fostering “play and conversations about identity, diversity, and inclusivity”. The vision behind Indigrow is to cultivate kindness and empathy in the next generation by offering a place where children, parents, educators, and creators can come together to “break biases, educate, and have conversations that truly matter”.

 

Indigrow presents an extensive ecosystem of captivating and educational products designed to foster a child's holistic development, with a focus on cultural diversity and inclusion through play. Their collection features A-Z culture play books inspired by Indian, Chinese, and Singaporean cultures, engaging puzzles, personalized name prints, and fun games. Their Diversity Play Lab is a standout inclusion, providing activities carefully crafted to instill understanding and appreciation for diversity and inclusion in children. Learn about celebrations with their World Festival Kits, including holidays like Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Diwali, and Onam. Beyond their paid offerings, Indigrow generously provides an array of free resources, activities, and an enriching blog, making learning and exploration accessible to all.

 

I am thrilled to announce my new partnership with Indigrow, an opportunity that fills me with both honor and excitement as I join them in their mission of bringing diversity to every child’s playroom.




As a special treat for my followers, you can now enjoy a 10% discount on Indigrow's website using the code ASIANSTORIESLIBRARY.




Indigrow founders Kshama and Akhila
Photo courtesy of Indigrow Kids

To delve deeper into the people and vision behind Indigrow, I've arranged a virtual Q&A session with the founders, Kshama and Akhila. Let's explore their insights and aspirations together!

 

Let’s start with the most basic ice breaker ever. What are three fun facts about yourselves?


Kshama has a black belt in Judo, is a trained classical dancer, and has visited 83 countries.

Akhila’s favorite childhood story is the Magic Faraway Tree. As a child, she changed 12 schools in 15 years and has worked with over 700 kids in a single theatre production.

 


What was your profession before starting Indigrow? Is Indigrow your full time job now, or do you have other projects going as well?


Kshama was a brand marketing director and Akhila was in education. Indigrow is our baby at the moment and gets our full attention!

 


Can you share a specific moment or experience that fueled your commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in early childhood through Indigrow?


“What should we name our kids?”

“How do we connect our kids to our heritage?”

“Mamma, why do I look different from you?”

 “Which festivals should we celebrate as a family?”

 “Mamma, why are some people vegetarian”

“Mamma, where am I from?”

 

All these were questions we tried to answer for ourselves as parents or something our kids asked us when they were surprisingly little! Every one of these moments has inspired our creation of Indigrow.

 


Can you share any challenges you faced in establishing and growing Indigrow, and how did you overcome them?


Indigrow as with any start-up has had its fair share of challenges. The one obvious one is scaling the company while bootstrapped and limited marketing budgets. To overcome this, we focused our energies on creating a strong community of parents, educators, and creators who not only love our products but are actively involved in creating our offerings. This has helped the brand grow organically.

 


Indigrow offers a variety of products promoting cultural diversity. How do you ensure that these products are both educational and enjoyable for children?


Our starting point is always the child. And children learn best through play. So, all our products are designed to be delightful and open ended. They are centered around our adorable characters and stories which help kids and their grown-ups engage with our content and product in an enjoyable, playful way. While the messages are deep and the content is educational our efforts have always been to bring a smile to our community - and it has worked so far!


 

Can you discuss the importance of diverse characters and cultures in children's literature, especially for Asian children who don’t often see themselves represented in literature and media?


We often say that diversity is not a section in the bookshelf, it is what our children live everyday - in their schools, in their playgrounds, in their activities. Diversity is already woven in the fabric of our everyday lives and literature needs to represent that. We do see change coming, but it can’t come fast enough. Kids need both mirrors and windows - they need to see themselves, be confident of their identity while also appreciating the world around them and developing empathy. This is essential to the emotional and social development of our kids.

 


A to Z Singapore, Chinese culture, and India books
Photo courtesy of Indigrow Kids

What motivated you to publish books that focus on world cultures, specifically India, Singapore, and China?


Our own experiences with our kids opened our eyes to the glaring gap of cultural parenting in society. Parents and educators spend so much time focusing on their kids literary, numeracy, arts, science, and even physical development. But culture is an essential part of our environment and plays such a huge role in developing confidence, self-esteem, and identity. With the world rapidly becoming more culture rich and diverse, we found conscious parents and educators needed resources and tools to navigate these similarities and differences. We started with our A to Z Culture Playbook Series (books and games), inspired by the environments that surrounded us. 



Toco's How We Look Playbook and Diversity Play Lab Bundle
Photo courtesy of Indigrow Kids

Toco’s How We Look Playbook & Diversity Play Lab bundle is a distinctive offering from Indigrow. Could you elaborate on the book and activities it includes and the impact you hope it will have on children's understanding of diversity?


Kids experience multicultural similarities and differences earlier than we think. Sometimes even in preschool. The earlier we introduce the concepts of “same and different” - the more kind and confident our kids become. A big cultural difference kids see is in the way we look. Toco’s How We Look Playbook and activities from our Diversity Play Lab helps grown ups play and talk to kids about this topic in a fun and delightful way. The book itself has a lovely story which is a starting point to simple activities that are outlined at the end of the book. These extend into our Diversity Play Lab which is a more immersive, playful experience. Each activity can be done in under 5 minutes and comes with grown-up tips and empowering phrases. For us, this is a gateway into powerful, life affirming conversations with your kids that form the bedrock of their identity and outlook into the world.



 

Could you share the inspiration behind the creation of the World Festival Kits, which encompass free resources and activities curated in collaboration with other authors, small business owners, and influencers? Additionally, how do you go about selecting the cultural celebrations and creators to feature in these kits?


Festivals are woven into our cultures since the beginning of time. Each festival has a deeper, symbolic meaning often based on science, community, season and geography. Our World Festival Kits aim to breakdown cultural festivals in a simple, delightful way - bringing storytelling to the forefront and combining that with the magic of play. Whether you would like to introduce a festival for the first time or celebrate it for the 20th time, our kits have something for everyone.

 

Our creators have been passengers on our journey. We have partnered with them because of their authenticity, talent, and passion to share culture with the world. Spanning stories, recipes, songs, books, art, and craft - our cultural ambassadors will continue to be a cherished part of our community.


 

Indigrow aims to create a more empathetic generation. How do you measure the success of this vision, and what stories or feedback have stood out to you along the way?


One mind opened. One heart opened. Every piece of content or product we send out into the world serves to inspire empathy, kindness, and cultural consciousness. The more people that we interact with, the higher our impact. Our hearts are so full when we hear parents say their kids laughed and giggled along with them when playing with or watching creations by Indigrow. We are delighted when grandparents say they were able to bond with grandkids because of our books and games. We are so proud when educators say they used our tools and resources in a meaningful way to have conversations with their students. We continue to be fueled by stories and comments like this…. and that’s what charges us to wake up everyday!


 

Looking ahead, what future initiatives or expansions do you envision for Indigrow, and how do you hope to further impact early childhood education on a global scale?


We are looking to extend our offerings into the digital space, to truly achieve scale, reach different geographies and make an impact. We are also looking to kickstart an education hub for educators in diverse learning spaces to use our content.



Is there anything that we didn’t talk about that you would like to share?


We love meeting and chatting to parents, creators, educators! Your stories inspire us to create so please reach out to us at hello@indigrowkids.com and also visit us indigrowkids.com for our goodies!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @indigrowkids for fun, meaningful content! 



Don't forget to use code ASIANSTORIESLIBARY for 10% off your purchase from indigrowkids.com!


Indigrow logo
Photo courtesy of Indigrow Kids

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