In Urdu, “Aagay Barho!” means “move ahead”. The phrasing here is someone more significant because it contains the first two letters of the English and Urdu alphabet: A and B, or Aliph and Bey. You’re probably thinking how silly and childish we are for pointing out and celebrating the obvious, but it’s the obviously ambiguous things that help us to keep moving ahead.
A year ago today, ToffeeTV officially launched its website. In terms of virtual businesses, that’s the equivalent of setting up shop and opening doors to the public. Almost 364 days ago, we began with a playlist of just 6 songs, 1 story and 3 activity posts. 364 days later, we somehow still maintained 2 uploads a week helping us to cross our first one million viewers on our YouTube channel.
We became more active through our Apps for Nokia and iPhone. Our partners, Nokia Pakistan and Lakson Business Solutions have supported us tremendously, support which has been immensely appreciated. Our friend and business partner, Farzal Dojki and his team at NextGen-i, have been instrumental in guiding us through the ToffeeTV app for the iPhone and iPad. The fact that young Ahad was hooked onto the “10 Green Bottles” Urdu version may have played a minute role in that.. ;-)
We began offering more opportunity for learning and interaction through the events we did at T2F, with the help of its founder, Sabeen Mahmud and her most able team. The parents and children who still keep coming to our events, never cease to surprise us with their love and fondness for what we’re trying to do.
We got some wonderful storytellers to help us, we affectionately refer to them as our ToffeeTellers. These include the wonderful Sania Saeed, Huzefa Ali, Hira Ilyas Bawahab and Fawwad Khan. We were honored and fortunate to have worked with the late Mrs. Parveen Kassim, Principal of the Karachi High School and a dear, dear friend and the most extraordinary storyteller we have ever come across. It is perhaps the result of her prayers and good wishes that our little team has managed to come this far.
The dynamic duo, Zeb and Haniya, performed a single track for us, which we still can’t believe. Chef Poppy Agha cooked up a storm for kids on the ToffeeTV Channel just before placing RunnerUp in the India-Pakistan Foodistan (Cooking) Competition. We ventured out and partnered with Apna Network FM 107 to transmit our songs during their early morning transmission, letting us be heard through the web, on mobile platforms, in person through events and on the radio.
A lot of really random people from the media communities would write about us or interview us, and we’re grateful for each and every byte published about us. Names such as Express Tribune, Samaa Television, Dawn.com were just some of many who covered us. But if we think back, it was really the push we got last October, which really got the ball rolling for us. When we were recognized at the P@SHA ICT Awards 2011, Jawwad Farid did play a critical role in helping us to think about what we were doing and where we needed to go. Helping us to prepare for the APICTA 2011 in Thailand, with President P@SHA Jehan Ara cheering Team Pakistan on, really helped bring our plans on track.
From any standard, the numbers and basic milestones highlighted in this blog post, will not seem anything extraordinary to the average web user. But here’s how we look at it: this is Urdu content and localized. Pretty much all of it is created and produced from scratch. And it’s for kids. It’s just the first year and while we’re very content with the way things are going, there is a LOT more work to do!
On a final note: there are so many of you to thank and only two of us to do so. But people like Nikhat Zafar, Talha Ghafoor, Humera Faisal, Arjumand Habib, Rabia Nizami and so many others not even mentioned in this blog post, make us feel like we’re doing stuff that means something. Stuff that’s worth it. For that, we can only say thank you!
Talea Zafar & Rabia Garib
PS: In case you’re wondering why THAT video is posted with this blog piece, it’s because this is our celebration song. Enjoy it!