Travelling across the pages of a magazine, Semi is a young boy embarking on thrilling journeys through civilisations. Jumping from the Egyptian to the Mayan era, Semi learns the values of tolerance and acceptance of diversity as young Tunisian children turn the pages of his comic book.

Couss & Co

The ingenious minds behind this character are Rym Jafra and Yassine Ellil, co-founders of publishing house Couss & Co Editions. Established in 2012 in Tunisia, the company specialises in the production of children’s comics, tailored for readers between the ages of 7 and 12.

“Our goal is to educate children in tolerance through the use of comics as a playful and didactic medium,” Rym explains. Their flagship magazine, La Porte de la Mer, is distributed all over Tunisia and features a variety of comics spanning different genres, including fantasy intertwined with history. “And it’s only 3 dinars 5 so children from all backgrounds can have access to it.”

But what really sets Cous & co apart is its direct involvement with public schools, a practice that has earned them widespread success. “We go to schools and interact directly with the children,” Rym says, noting that this personal touch has helped rekindle the joy of reading among children “who had been lacking age-appropriate magazines for years”.

The duo’s efforts go beyond entertainment, as they also use 20% of the magazine’s profits to improve the infrastructure of state schools. Earlier this year, Coss & co helped set up a library in Sidi Hassine, in collaboration with the school’s director.

“We have big ambitions: we dream of distributing our magazine in Algeria, Morocco, France, and beyond,” Rym says, adding that “in the end what we want is to promote inter-cultural exchange and acceptance, one comic strip at a time!”.

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InvestMed is an EU-funded project part of the ENI CBC Med programme. InvestMed supports the development of sustainable entrepreneurship and business initiatives, by creating a backing environment and facilitating access to new markets with the final goal of generating increased economic opportunities and jobs for young people and women.

TANDEM Media Awards

EU Neighbours South is launching the 2nd edition of the TANDEM Media Awards, a regional media contest, funded by the European Union (EU). The competition is based on the concept of collaborations between pairs. The theme of TANDEM Media Awards is culture, an area in which the EU is active through different types of support and contributions.