Many of our ICCA-Umunna forebears have always had programs to teach our children Igbo language. They were impelled by the realization of the necessity to keep our history, traditions, and culture alive by making sure that our children born in the diaspora were able to speak their ancestral Igbo language. As these efforts grew, it became very necessary to establish a formal Igbo school for our children in the Greater- Toronto Area, in Ontario. Other efforts were made in these directions in the past, but they floundered and fell apart.
In 2004 Mr. Chris Nsoedo, then General Secretary of the ICCA-Umunna, approached Mr. Adelino Da Silva of the foreign languages department of the Catholic School Board. Mr. Da Silva was very familiar with Igbo of Biafra. He worked in the Catholic relief services in his home country of Portugal during the Biafran war and helped package relief materials which were transported from Lisbon, Portugal, to Sao Tome, and Gabon and onwards to Biafra’s Uli Airstrip. Mr. Da Silva informed Mr. Nsoedo that Igbo Language school was formerly approved but the Igbo community could not sustain it. Mr. Nsoedo assured Mr. Da Silva that the Igbo community will reinvigorate the language school and sustain it by recruiting a professional teacher to man the enterprise. The general assembly of ICCA-Umunna received news of the approval of the Igbo language school with joy. It has remained in operation, though not with as much vigor as it should, until this day.
In the environment of Corvid-19 and thereafter, it is necessary to develop a virtual Igbo language school teaching formula that will not only anticipate the difficulties and problems of changing times, but can make the learning of the Igbo language fun for our children.
We cannot emphasize too much the power of language in expressing and communicating the strengths, character, personality, culture, history, tradition, and essence of our people. It plays a big role in how we and others perceive the world and influences our general world view and influences. It helps us to understand ourselves and define ourselves to others and the world
There are the reasons why we must keep alive the Igbo language School and urge all Igbo in the Greater Toronto Area to register and bring their children to the Igbo Heritage School.