An Early Childhood Education Initiative

Language, Literary Arts and Sustainable Development 

At Art4Development.Net, equal access to knowledge is critical in achieving development, and we believe it starts with the necessary tools. And these tools are not always about the most advanced available information and communication technologies, but the very basics – being able to read and write.

According to UNESCO 250 million children and young people across the globe still do not attend school.

A lot has been done in girls’ education. And yet, today still, boys and girls do not have equal access to education throughout the world. Close to half of the girls’ population in the world’s poorest countries have no access to primary education. And over 30% of parents in certain countries send disproportionately more sons than daughters to schools. (Source: UNGEI)

Investing in early childhood is crucial for children’s well-being, school readiness and later success in life. There is strong evidence that early childhood development interventions focusing on health, nutrition and early stimulation in physical, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional areas generate substantial benefits for children’s overall development.

As an international organization, we also believe in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable communities. Investing in the “mother language/mother tongue” in a globalized world is vital for both retaining cultural heritage and nurturing the cognitive development of the next generation. According to research, mother tongue education supports academic learning, literacy, and the ability to learn additional languages.

Lilijim “Alfabe Kitabım”: The Turkish Language Book Project

Significant progress towards universal primary education has been made in Turkey, yet the gender gap and inequality in education persist; hundreds of thousands of girls in Turkey do not attend classes. Compared to developed countries, support for early childhood education/learning in Turkey is not yet prevalent, and 10% of girls who are at the age for primary education do not attend schools. 

To support both bi/multilingualism and early education, My Alphabet Book (Alfabe Kitabım in Turkish) was launched in 2014 to help toddlers and young children who live outside of Turkey and whose mother tongue is Turkish learn the alphabet, expand their vocabulary, inspire curiosity, and even encourage them to practice some fine motor skills that will assist them with writing in the future.

In addition to letters and words depicted with small images, the book presents short stories that capture those words. The book not only has an audio version but also includes a fun board game that allows families to play together while learning the letters, thinking about words, and practicing making sentences.

Where does the name  “Lilijim” come from? Lili is the book’s main character, and the stories share her adventures with her family. 

“My Alphabet Book” is  multipurpose. It intends to assist those parents and caretakers who want their little ones to start building a strong Turkish vocabulary and instill the joy of reading and learning. The book also creates an opportunity for those who want to support ‘girls’ education’.

Sales proceeds of this book have supported early education and girls’ education in Turkey (raising funds for CYDD scholarship for girls).

With over 130 pages, My Alphabet Book  has the content of three separate books and a game:

  1. Introducing all 29 Turkish Letters with over 250 words and related imagery; 
  2. Presenting 13 Short Stories that highlight the specific letters and words being taught, 
  3.  Providing over two dozen tracing/doodling and other interactive pages and
  4. A fun alphabet board game. 

If you want to learn more about this initiative,  partner with us, or purchase the book and the game to support girls’ education, please contact us at info (at) 

Initiative Facebook Page (bilingual):

My Alphabet Book Launch at the International Day of the Girl Child Celebration. Art4Development.Net Founder, Nil Navaie together with Sandra Macías del Villar, Program Officer, Global Fund for Children, featuring the "Extraordinary Girls" book by Maya Ajmera, Olateju Omolodun, and Sarah Strunk (Washington DC, 2014)
Lilijim Celebrating World Book Day
Lilijim "Alfabe Kitabim" at the Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival (2015)