“They are not different, they are just gifted, and the world should see that” was the belief behind three friends support their sisters with Down syndrome (DS), to start their own cookie-baking project called ‘The Four Biscuits’.
The Four Biscuits is an online market for selling cookies baked by five young DS friends, Seba, Haidy, Sherihan, Yehia, and Mariam, who spend their free time baking cookies to raise people’s awareness of DS.
Nada Ahmed, along with Sheren and Noura Salem, are the initiative’s three co-founders. At first, through their project they aimed for their sisters Seba and Sherihan to increase their interactions with people, so they decided to open a project where they would help their siblings do so.
“We noticed that they love baking cookies at school,” Ahmed told Daily News Egypt, “DS people are usually interested in hand activities, where they start a product from scratch until the end, and baking is one of these activities which calms them and brings them pleasure.”
According to Ahmed, when people see that young DS people are capable of baking and being productive just like all members of society, it helps them understand and accept people with DS.
The founder’s dream is to have their own bakery shop where all pastries are baked by people with DS.
The five bakers gather once or twice a week, depending on their school and activity schedules, to bake for three and a half hours, to bake dozens of flavoured cookies.
“We knew that they would not spend their entire lives going to school, and they are just like many other people, they need to start their own business,” Ahmed explained.
“We currently have baking orders for the next month and a half,” she exclaimed happily.
The initiative is also available offline, through participating in open days, and even volunteering to serve in cafes.
“We [the sisters] noticed that they gained significant self-confidence every time they interacted with people. In the beginning, they were a bit shy, but now they start explaining to people about the initiative and tell them about the different cookie flavours. Some of them even adopted the skill of dealing with money, to exchange and count,” Ahmed added.
The team does not have any place yet, so they bake at one of their houses each time. The Four Biscuits sell their cookies with prices ranging from EGP 70-90, depending on the flavour and toppings.