Where am I from? | Interview with Elisavet Arkolaki | Jobsformumsmalta

Jobs for Mums July 30, 2018

We've interviewed this Super Mum before, for those of you who may have missed our previous chat with Elisavet you can read up on her here.

When Elisavet told us about her new project and book ''Where am I from?'' we knew that we wanted to share her story with you. Not only to inspire our JobsforMumsMalta.com community but also because we believe that this book is so unique and diverse that we need to help get the word out!

For anyone who knows Elisavet and her family, you will not be surprised by the brilliant idea and message behind ''Where am I from?''. Elisavet and her family are like children of the world. Of course they all have a nationality and a birth place, but Elisavet and her Husband's life with children started in Malta, followed by multiple trips to her birth country Greece, her husband's birth country Norway wher they currently have their base, Thailand, Denmark oh and of course also India. What can we say - We are jealous! 

Elisavet last we spoke you where a busy Mum of one. Meanwhile your family has grown with a plus one bundle of joy. How has life changed for you and your husband since the birth of your second child? 

To be honest, although it's more busy with two, I am coping much better than when we only had one kid. I feel more balanced and 4 was the perfect number of people for our family. My husband works full time at our company, he manages it online and needs to travel often. Our youngest doesn't attend daycare so all this leaves me with a short stretch of time to get things done with my own work. I feel that due to the time pressure I have become more effective. I often wake up as early as 5 o' clock, and my 'alone time', my 'break', is dedicated on work. 
 

We know you are super busy with maltamum.com and maltamumshop.com. How did you find the time, and how did you come up with this new project and book idea ''Where am I from? 

On top of running maltamum.com and maltamumshop.com, I wanted to, or rather I felt the urgent need to create a book for children like my own who ask questions about their origins, and who will also soon be asked the same question by others due to their accents, colours and possibly deviant behaviour due to differences in cultural norms. That was about a year ago. After I finalised writing the story of 'Where am I from?', which deals with the identity issues that perplex the multicultural child, something didn't feel complete. 
 
I was like OK, we now have the perfect bedtime story with diverse characters for our children, but what about the parents of these children? Parents like me who raise kids in between cultures and with mixed backgrounds, parents who mean well but might luck the necessary resources to aid their kids further into this tangled cultural mix of theirs that they need to make sense of? I reached out to professors, lecturers and professionals in the field, and with their suggestions and full chapter contribution we created a 39-page guide 'How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children'. This one we give it out for free as a 'thank you' to the people who share our Kickstarter 'Where am I from?' crowdunding page on social media.

The whole project as a concept became complete when it occured to me I might be able to compliment this fairytale book with street art illustrations, something which has never been done before. I've always loved street art, and have even written articles and interviewed some of my favourite artists in the past. When the artist Platon agreed to take on this project, this added an extra layer of enthusiasm. Faraxa Publishing believed in us and our vision right from the start, and within 2 months of querying different publishers, we agreed to publish it with Joanne Micallef, Director of Faraxa and mum of multicultural children herself.  

What message and impact do you hope for your book to achieve?

The book sets out in search of a simple, universal answer to the question: ‘Where Am I From?’. It reflects the innocence and purity of a child’s perception, as storytelling helps young ones make sense of the world around them. Ultimately, the book depicts a fun, educational and artistic journey that is told through the eyes of children from all six continents, with the youngest child delivering the answer to the burning question.
 

How can the community contribute towards the development of this project? 

With the community's help, we're going to release the first ever picture book that introduces our little ones to the beauty of street art. By bringing this project to life, we will all make together a statement about the value of inclusive stories. All children deserve stories that teach them not only about how they are unique, but also about what connects them to all other humans. We are also going to prove to ourselves, to publishers, and to the general public, that a traditional publisher, an artist and an author can define new ways of working together, and that with open communication, collaboration, artistic freedom and egalitarian terms of contract, magical and beautiful books can take shape.
Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. We're launching this book project via a crowdfunding platform, Kiclstarter.com . In case you're new to it, please note that you're in good company. Around the world, over 14 million people have contributed to all kinds of Kickstarter projects. To fund this innovative book project, we need to raise €10,500 in about thirty days. Crowdfunding lets people like you make a big difference for causes you care about. When you make a pledge, you're promising to help us reach that goal. But we can only accept the funds – and start painting – if we can raise the money by Wednesday, August 15th. Let's get started! Visit our campaign page here