In 2012, UNESCO predicted that Igbo language, which is spoken by about 25 million people, and has more than 20 different dialects is one of the many tribal languages that will become extinct by 2025 if nothing is done to check the fast declining use.
While some have argued the possibility, some are working to make sure the prediction doesn’t come true.
Chimmie Gbugu, a Nigerian, US-based mechanical engineer is on a mission to ‘igborize’ the next generation. The mother of three kids who prefers to call them “igbolings” started her company, Akwukwo, which means Book, in 2017 to simplify the understanding of Igbo language especially for children living in diaspora.
Chimmie’s mission with Akwukwo is to “igborize my children, your children, IgboChildren, half-Igbo children, and ALL language loving kiddos in the WORLD!” she said on her Instagram page.
Beyond eating Igbo food, wearing the traditional clothing and listening to Igbo music, Chimmie wanted to make sure her children could speak Igbo language as fluently as they could speak English, but it wasn’t easy to find captivating Igbo learning material. So, she had to improvise a lot and develop a pseudo curriculum to augment their informal daily influence.
Observing her first two children’s preferences for colorful board books led to the birth and publishing of their 2 premium Igbo board book.
Chimmie is using every available means ranging from hard copy books, interactive website, youtube channel, social media, digital apps to make learning Igbo very easy.
The Akwukwo team are committed to Igborizing the next generation by imparting, improving and sustaining your children’s knowledge of the Igbo language. Their aim is to keep their beloved language alive for future generations everywhere – in Diaspora and in Nigeria.
The ‘Learn Igbo for Kids’ app for iOS and Android devices, helps for building/improving analytical, coordination, problem solving, retentive, and cognitive skills while learning the Igbo language. The app consists of 4 audio interactive modules: Mkpuru okwu (alphabets); Onu Ogugu (Numbers); Anumanu (Animals); Nri (Food). Each module consists of an Mmuta (Lessons) section and an Omume (Activities) section.
You can watch her teach her kids on her Youtube channel here.