Eritrean Diaspora Parents are Taking their Children's Mother-Tongue Seriously

More Eritrean diaspora parents are becoming successful in teaching their children the Tigrigna mother-tongue.
TORONTO - March 26, 2013 - PRLog -- Growing number of Eritrean diaspora parents are succeeding in passing their linguistic heritage to their children born in the diaspora. Eritreans are known to foster strong bond with their native homeland, Eritrea. Many visit their homeland regularly with their families, some of whom were born outside of Eritrea. This strong bond partly explains their tendency to attach strong importance to teaching their children their ancestral linguistic heritage.

One of the most joyous occasion when Eritrean diaspora parents visit their home country is to introduce their diaspora born children to their grand mothers and grand fathers in Eritrea, if it is at all possible. And the issue of language takes a centre stage during such occasions, as very few grand parents are fluent in the diaspora languages that their grand son or grand daughter speaks. Such linguistic barries may often dampen the otherwise momentous occasion in one's life time re-union.

Eritreans parents in the diaspora are tackling the issue of mother-tongue acquisition in their diaspora children from an early age by using Tigrigna children's books, stories and early years educational textbooks that are age appropriate and designed to appeal to children born in the diaspora. An Eritrean owned publication enterprise, Weledo (, is a recently established Children's Books publications company.

Weledo's model of mother-tongue education involves the use of regular reading and writing activities for children to develop their language skills. An Eritrean diaspora parent Mr Tedros Afenegus, from Portland, Oregon  says " My daughter is very interested in these books because they are ideal children's books, colourful, short stories, big alphabets and easy to read and understand." Mr. Afenegus' daughter, Leya, can now read and write the Tigrigna mother-tongue at the age of 5 and living all her life ouside of Eritrea.

Research indicates that children who learn their mother-tongue language early on in life perform better at their schooling both academically as well as on social, emotional and behavioural development. Many school boards in the West are now actively encouraging ethnic minority parents to work towards helping their children learn the native mother-tongue.

Weledo Publications Enterprise was founded by a Eritrean-Canadian teacher and father of two Mr. Abel Abraham. Mr. Abraham says "We were greatly surprised by the extent of demand that was there from fellow Eritrean diaspora parents" and concluded "there is far more things that need to be done in this respect, and we are confident that it is achievable."

Mr. Abraham, Weledo's founder and current director, has travelled to Eritrea where he was able to share the work of his company with Eritrea's major TV network, ERiTV He appeared in several of the TV's popular programs over a marathon two week period, some involving a an hour long studio interview.

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Eritrean diaspora parents typically order their Tigrigna books on-line, Those living in USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy and other European countries receive their purchased books from Amazon books. All of Weledo's books are sold and shipped by third parties, major global book distribution networks. Whereas Eritreans in Australia and New Zealand receive their shipments from The Nile, Australia's largest book retailer.

Mr. Mulugeta Elfu, an organizer of a community Tigrigna school in Kristiansand, Norway, said that "We are happy to get these products and I’m sure that [it] will help us a lot in the Tigrigna language teaching of our kids and youngsters’. We admire Weledo's initiative to prepare these books and we encourage them to strive to work harder so that our diaspora generation could keep their basic mother language intact for generations to come."  // END
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