How Do We Preserve Cultural Identity, Among our Children Living in the Diaspora?
Culture and language matters. This is why the goal of NileBridge International is to "groom all our children of immigrant parents and guardians living in the Diaspora. We will capture their attention from their baby stage to at least 15 years of age using a "Three Dimensional Approach." This program is called the NileBridge International Diaspora Kids Educational Program (DKEP)."
It is set to initially benefit Ugandan children from the Buganda culture. Other beneficiaries will include all Ugandan children from other tribes whose parents or guardians would like them to learn the Buganda culture. It is also designed to attract any one else who is interested in learning about this culture and its language. Children who will use and actively participate in the DKEP especially with the support of their parents or guardians stand to benefit. They will be equipped, knowledgeable and fully aware (EKA tool) of their Buganda or African roots. They will be ready to take on the required responsibilities that come with cultural identity.
When we consider the status quo today, there is a prevalent challenge among all our children born of Ugandan immigrants living in the diaspora. It is the absence of our own-original-children’s tools to preserve, protect, and avance our social and economic development as a people. It is the silent cancer which is killing our culture, norms, ideology, identity, and voice. Indeed, there is a desperate need for kids and their parents in the diaspora to connect to their Ugandan or African roots. What we choose to do for them today and in the years to come, can either develop their strong cultural identity or make them lose it all to Western influences.
When we create and promote our own authentic tools, we turn the page to a new chapter set to develop and guide the culture and language of our children. We free ourselves from colonial narratives which for over a century now, have robbed us of our own original cultural and ideological trajectories. NileBridge International therefore seeks to cultivate this children’s cultural identity-which in turn will increase all our diaspora children's confidence in who they really are- and where they, their parents or guadians originate from. This is why NileBridge International is embarking on a unique initiative which can be employed to bridge this gap. We seek to support parents, guardians, and community leaders as they work hard to collectively raise all our children in the diaspora. This initiative "adopts the strategic concept of using cartoon characters to raise awareness about our children’s origins, cultural identity and responsibility through traditional folk songs, storytelling, poems and rhymes in the Luganda language."
This concept is not new. In Western cultures, we have the example of Winnie the Pooh, Peppa Pig, Curious George, Scooby doo, Tom and Jerry, Superman, Wonder woman, Spider man etc. These characters were created as tools to guide and advance Western cultural values. They also inflate children's beliefs that they are invincible. Its one method that has build an over confident Western pop-culture. Unfortunately for a long time, our children have gravitated to such characters due to the absence of an authentic alternative. From now on, we as a people must create our own. But why should we?
Historically, there is concrete data and case studies to prove that language, music, rhymes, and storytelling are effective tools, families have used over the centuries to preserve culture and develop identity. This is always done in a playful manner without even forcing it onto our children. In fact, the more engaged the children are in learning languages, the more their brains will be stimulated. They are young and have uninterrupted minds. We need to capture and take advantage of this fact in its organic form.
The Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and Latino communities living in the diaspora are solid examples of case studies. They are a step ahead when it comes to how to preserve cultural identity within the Western cultural environment. They have been successful in preserving their solid identity through their language, coding, storytelling, various forms of dancing, calligraphy, and martial arts. All these tools, have taught their children the value of responsibility, respect, discipline and work ethic while they articulate their respective languages. 90% of their children living in the Diaspora are multi-lingual. They go on to become successful global citizens. They engage their local and global communities with measured impact. We as a people from the Ugandan region can adopt this model which has succeeded in preserving Jewish, Asian and Latino American cultures for many centuries.
To address this challenge, my organization is designing and developing content which is called "the NileBridge International Diaspora Kids Educational Program," (DKEP). Once it is fully developed, it will be disseminated through subscription in all homes of children living in the diaspora. These homes may comprise of Baganda families, or those from other tribes who might be interested in the Buganda Culture. The program will be in the form of Cds, Dvds, and Educational online tools presented through the NileBridge International DKEP App. We project that if the DKEP is designed and implemented carefully-which we intend to do, it can address the question of how we preserve culture, norms, and ideology of the Buganda Kingdom among all Ugandan children living in the diaspora. The program will contain tools, content, curriculum, strategy, implementation, monitoring and evaluation instruments-spread out over a period of the first 15 years of a child’s life living in the diaspora.
I therefore propose that the Buganda Bumu North American Convention (BBNAC) community, Uganda North American Association members and other Ugandan groups in partnership with the parents of our children living in the diaspora-along with the entire Buganda Kingdom, embrace this effective tool. I propose that we all adopt the NileBridge International DKEP as the major official medium of traditional folk songs, storytelling, poems and rhymes in the Luganda language. We project that if parents start early at a young and tender age of their baby, most of them will be able to identify with this DKEP from their childhood up to 15 years old and beyond. As a result, with the active participation of all stakeholders especially parents, our children in the diaspora will methodically and organically learn to speak fluent Luganda. They will effectively internalize the Buganda or African culture, norms, and ideology.
In perspective, when we measure impact over the next 15 years and beyond after we implement the NileBridge International DKEP, we will have achieved our goal- "to groom young adults who will be fully aware of their Buganda or African roots and the required responsibilities that come with it." When we do this consistently and consciously, we will continue to cultivate, protect and advance our social and economic development objectives as stipulated in the BBNAC's planned outcomes. We encourage all Ugandans Living in the Diaspora to participate, interact and contribute to this NIleBridge International DKEP task.
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