Voice actors explain how Siraj experience helped them develop their Arabic language skills
Educational cartoons can be an effective tool in promoting learning in children, with lessons designed to help develop a range of skills, from science and math to problem solving and language building.
But the benefits can also extend to the hidden actors who spend long hours lending their voices to the cartoon characters. Like the children behind Rashid and Noura of Qatar Foundation’s edutainment TV series Siraj, who are helping viewers learn the Arabic language in a fun and engaging manner.
Haya Muhammad Al-Muhannadi, a 12-year-old student at Al-Bayan Preparatory School for Girls, voices Noura. Speaking about her experience, she says: “This is the first time that I have done something like this before, and I hope to continue participating in this program in the future to benefit myself and my community.
The show has helped me to develop my own Arabic language skills.
"The show has helped me to develop my own Arabic language skills – and speaking it fluently – as this is the very core of the program.”
Haya expressed her admiration of Siraj, as the lessons are given within the framework of a journey full of fun, learning, and exploration.
"I am always trying to make the tone of the voice appropriate to the character of Noura, and I strive to speak in a way that allows the viewer to clearly understand me, effectively communicating the messages and their meanings.”
Reem Abdulaziz Al-Mannai, Haya's mother, expressing how proud of her daughter she is, and her involvement in the educational program that aims to enrich the Arabic language among children, says: "I encourage my daughter to continue participating in such meaningful work, and to watch educational cartoons.
"I was keen to give Haya the opportunity to express her thoughts and develop her reading skills from a young age. As well as enjoying this unique experience, Haya’s Arabic language skills have developed a lot.
“Also, through Siraj, she has discovered an ability to tell stories and write poetry, increasing her confidence by participating in many engagements – both in and outside of school – such as public speaking and recitation.
"Haya's love of the Arabic language gave her the opportunity to participate in this program. And, since then, we have worked with her school to further develop her passion by signing her up for voice acting auditions at Al Jazeera Children's Channel,” continues Al-Mannai.
Behind the spontaneous and cheerful Rashid is 13-year-old Jabr Ahmed Al-Mansoori, a student at Al-Doha Preparatory School for Boys.
I have learned a lot, about many different topics, through my role in Siraj
According to his father, Ahmed Al-Mansoori, Rashid’s on-screen personality is very close to his son’s own character. And through his movements and expressions, Jabr is the perfect fit for Rashid.
“Qatar Foundation chose Jabr because he had the necessary skills to perform the role, and because he had participated in other children programs,” explains Ahmed.
“Jabr started working with Siraj at an early age. At the time, it was difficult for him to pronounce some of the words clearly. Now, with four years of continuous practice with Siraj, his performance has improved – from speaking to reading, to using accents and making sentences.
“I am very happy that my son practices what he loves and has a passion for it. The program has had a positive impact on society – children in particular – as the information and topics presented are extremely diverse.
“In addition to highlighting our heritage and traditions, it helps to introduce the new generation to the Qatari culture, such as Garangao,” Ahmed concludes.
Speaking about his experience as Rashid, Jabr adds: "I have learned a lot, about many different topics, through my role in Siraj. And my Arabic has also improved.
“My participation in the program increased my confidence, and I have been encouraged to participate in other activities. It also gave me the opportunity to help other children learn, so would like to encourage the whole community to watch Qatar Foundation’s Siraj.”