Exposure to art and culture should start as early as possible to ensure children grow up knowledgeable about the significance of their local heritage to be able to take ownership of it. To address the lack of such materials in Tunisia, we published the first edition of a larger series of children’s books entitled “Discover Tunisia with Safir”.
Safir means "ambassador" stemming from the Arabic verb "yusafir" which means to travel. Each part of the story focuses on a different aspect of Tunisia’s rich cultural heritage beginning with the history of mosaics. The main character is a pigeon that goes by the name Safir, who takes young readers on journeys of discovery to explore Tunisia’s culture with the help of a host of historic figures Safir encounters along the way. The storyline also covers the history of visual arts, tangible and intangible heritage. As part of the educational goal of Safir, the books are distributed to a number of schools in Tunisia. Teachers are trained on using Safir as an educational tool, and cultural mediators are presented with child-specific activities derived from the series in the framework of interactive museum and site visits targeting young students. In this way, Tunisia's youth are introduced to their heritage in a fun, engaging and age-appropriate way.
The first edition of the series was made in collaboration with the European Union and the Tunisian Ministries of Culture and of Education. To encourage multilingualism in education, "The Mystery of the Bardo Mosaics" is available in Arabic, French and English.