Monday, April 27, 2009

Women's group set up for Oxford's Nigerians

By Amanda Williams
A WOMEN'S group aiming to help Nigerian women living in Oxford has been launched.

The Udoka Igbo Women’s Association was set up by five women from Blackbird Leys, Cowley and Littlemore to teach the children of Igbo men and women, an ethnic group of people from east Nigeria, more about their culture.

There are thought to be about 2,000 Igbos — sometimes spelt Ibo — living in Oxfordshire.

Ngozi Nze and Ochiora Ebede, from Cowley, Stella Godwin-Malife, from Littlemore, Theresa Eke, of East Oxford and Chinwe Anya, who lives in Kidlington, decided to set up Udoka, which means Peace is Best, after discussing the importance of teaching their children about their heritage.

They now hope the association, which is awaiting charitable status, can attract sponsors so it can set up the country’s second Igbo language school in Oxford.

Ochiora Ebede, 53, from Cowley, taught her own daughter, Jasmine, 24, about her language and culture so she could grow up speaking both English and Igbo.

She said: “It is very important that children are taught about their heritage — the language, food and culture.

“Children will often go back and visit Igboland and it’s important they are able to integrate properly.

“We also want to raise awareness about other issues facing women in today’s multi-ethnic Britain, such as domestic violence and the importance of family values.”

The group will also be open to women who may have married into the Igbo culture.

Currently Udoka, which has appointed Lord Mayor Sussana Pressel as its patron, meets once a month at one of the women’s homes but the group is looking to set up in a community space soon.

Mrs Ebede said she also hoped sponsors would come forward to support the setting up of the language school.

She added: “We would also welcome donations from people of whatever they are able to give.

“Equipment, computers, whatever people can donate, we would be very grateful for.”

Ms Pressel said: “I lived in Africa for five years and I continue to be interested in various aspects of African culture.

“I was very flattered to be invited to be part of the new group.

“Also I think Oxford is very lucky to have groups from many different countries who contribute to the rich diversity in our wonderful city.”

l To contact the association email or go to

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