Empowering Communities

“We were singing in Amharic, talking in Amharic. She was asking them how do you say that in Amharic, reminding them of who they are. Children felt of a sense of who they are with their own peers with the same culture, with mom sitting and talking.” Community co-lead

In early Summer, we joined the Amharic and Tigrinyan community to implement language stimulation group with moms and their young children.  Our goal was to support the community by creating a space to cherish their home language and scalfold language learning. We met around a traditional Coffee Ceremony mat every week a local Community League Hall. In conversations with our community co-leads, we adapted our program to meet their needs. We told stories, sang songs, and learned new words and traditions.  Thanks to the work of our community co-leads and a youth from the community, we used Amharic, Tigrinya and a bit of English. We also drew from the Amharic versions within the StoryBooks Canada resources.

A picture of our coffee ceremony mats.

On our last day together, our co-leads hosted a Coffee Ceremony including kinche, dabo and amazing coffee. The coffee beans were roasted and brewed while we told stories with the children, the smoke from the roasting beans clarifying the space.  Over our 8 weeks together, we learned about how language and culture are woven together in this community, how women use coffee ceremonies to share and work through problems, how children learn alongside each other and their parents, and how music and language come together. We are looking forward to sharing what we all learned with the community later this year.

A picture of the Coffee Ceremony.

Published by Multilingual Families Lab

The focus of the Multilingual Families Lab is to study the development of bilingual children and their families.

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