Igbo Language for Beginners by Rev. Henry I. Oputa, Ed.D.

On October 3, 2020, a virtual Igbo Language Pilot Program was launched in Fresno, California by Anthony and Jamila Nwangwu in collaboration with Saturday Cultural School - a project of The Way Ministries...John 14:6 under the leadership of Rev./Dr. Henry Oputa and Dr./Mrs. Francine Oputa.

Anthony’s involvement in promoting the African culture in the Central Valley dates back to 2014 when he began his graduate studies at Fresno State. As a student volunteer at Saturday Cultural School, Anthony began teaching the Igbo language class to young members of the ministry. Six years later, Anthony with Jamila, his most talented and supportive wife, continue to help keep the Igbo language and culture alive in California’s Central Valley. 

Enrolled students have shown progress in Igbo language skills and are willing to learn more. Weekly attendance rose from 12 students during the opening week to 19 students that have attended back to back to date.

Currently, the teaching and support staff are: Mrs. Daberechi Uchenwoke, Mr. Anthony and Mrs. Jamila Nwangwu, Mrs. Tara Dixson, and Rev./Dr. Henry I. Oputa.

silhouette of nine persons standing on the hill

We successfully delivered part of the Igbo history, geography, greetings and all the Igbo alphabets during the just completed first half of the Mbido Igbo – Fall class of 2020. In addition, we provide information to buttress students’ moral and cultural compasses by using StoryTime. StoryTime is comprised of multiple 15 minute slots where celebrities and role models read fun yet educationally, culturally, and morally enriching stories to students.

During the second half of the fall class, we will continue our Igbo lesson plans and StoryTime to sharpen student’s Igbo language skills and culture. We anticipate that students will be grounded in the Igbo alphabet and are able to exchange greetings and pleasantries in Igbo by the end of the pilot project.

The “Igbos are an ethnic group in West Africa, numbering in the tens of millions. Most Igbos live in southeastern Nigeria, in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, and Rivers States” (Ugwu-Oju and Ogbodo, 2008).

The program has been successful, and later years hold a challenging yet exciting future for the project and our partnership as we plan to continue and expand the class to accommodate both beginner and intermediate students. We humbly ask for your prayers and kind support for the children. To support the children’s educational growth, future, and success with a tax-deductible donation, visit us at https://secure.myvanco.com/YGPG/home.

Stay tuned for more stories as the new partnership grows.

Reference Source

Dr. Dympna Ugwu-Oju and Christian Ogbodo in the IGBO DAY - An Evening of Cultural Immersion, Showcasing the Igbos of Nigeria in West Africa, August 9, 2008.