This female entrepreneur’s mission is to make children happier, more responsible and more compassionate.
About ten years ago, when Ekta Ohrie had a family friend for dinner, she remembers her friend’s three-year-old daughter glued to her iPad and the little girl didn’t even want to say hello to others.
“It was so disturbing to see her addicted to the iPad. She spent about three hours with us and not a minute did she look up. That’s when I really felt like something had to be done to keep kids away from technology, ”says Ekta, archaeologist and anthropologist.
Many things pushed her down the path of entrepreneurship, the first being her work in a consulting firm, dealing with many industries including education which continued to sharpen her interest in behavior and learning. children.
Becoming a mother herself and British psychologist Sue Palmer’s book Toxic Childhood made her more determined to tackle children’s overdependence on digital screens.
After quitting her job in 2016, Ekta began her research by offering free workshops for parents and children to understand parenting challenges and children’s psychologies and behaviors.
“These workshops helped me understand that the first way to disconnect children from technology is to connect them to nature. It improves their observation, improves their curiosity, makes them think more and also makes them really happy, ”says Ekta. HerStory.
In 2019, she founded LitJoys, a Gurugram-based learning company which aims to make young children more compassionate, responsible and happy through experiential stories and learning activities.
It offers storybooks and activity-based products like Travel Diaries and Apple Food Menu, a game designed to change tough eating habits.
Learn with Abdu
Ekta Ohrie with her son
Abdu is a young Hindu boy, inspired by his own son, concerned about climate change and respectful of people of different races, religions and backgrounds. He is the central character of his story books The Gulmohar tree and City of stars, through which Ekta hopes to spread the message of being environmentally friendly and adopting an inclusive attitude. His next book Time stories hope to convey the value of punctuality and be more respectful of other people’s time.
Ekta also uses different formats to provide an interactive reading experience and communicate larger issues and well-researched content in a simple and relevant way.
She said, “No child will read a book full of information on pollution. So, I called it City of Stars and contextualized it in such a way that you don’t get to see the stars because of some environmental issues.
Designed in a calendar format with one story per month, kids are also encouraged to carpool with friends and practice other eco-friendly behaviors to earn stickers and jot down what they talked about during the ride in the book.
Ekta says parents also learn by reading and engaging in these activities with their children. The entrepreneur notes that children can be powerful agents of change as they can convince their parents and adult family to switch to healthy, sustainable habits more than anyone else.
“I realized that through my initiative, books and learning products, I can not only tackle some of these key parenting challenges and bring back the joy of learning in children, but also address some of these parenting issues. key companies, ”she adds. .
Evolve at your own pace
As a storyteller, Ekta begins by focusing on the areas that she deems important and develops them through her observation and research online.
She also draws on the lessons of childhood that she also learned from her father. Growing up in Delhi, Ekta remembers her father frequently visiting Japan and returning home to tell him how the Japanese value cleanliness and are always on time.
“But more importantly, as I have seen most people lose their sense of time since the Covid-19 epidemic, I have been moved to write the stories of time, which also carry the message of being happy whatever the circumstances and to live in the moment, ”she explains.
Having fought alone for the first three years since quitting her job, Ekta now has a tight-knit team to discuss and review her work. Besides her website, she sells on platforms like Amazon and has managed to sell around 3,000 units of story books, games, and learning activity products.
However, Ekta points out that the company is less concerned with hitting sales records in the market and wants to grow at its own pace. Although players like Smartivity and FlintoBox share the market space to keep kids away from tech, the entrepreneur says there is no direct competition because the approaches and product offering are very different. “While these brands engage children in science, math and engineering-based activities, LitJoys also tackles parenthood and broader societal challenges,” Ekta adds.
“You can certainly speed up production, but unless some value is created it becomes obsolete,” she says, stating that this is also the reason why she has self-funded the business so far and that it is happy to welcome individual investors into its network. institutional VCs infuse the funds.
Today, his books and activity kits only work by word of mouth. Ekta has also been invited to speaker sessions at many schools and continues to engage practically today.
Despite the interest of international clients, the entrepreneur is currently focusing on the Indian market and claims that the first user test starts with his own son and friends.