Community·ASIAN CHANGEMAKERS 2022

How Tamania Jaffri is emphasizing the importance of raising bilingual children

CBC Calgary is highlighting the rich heritage and contributions of Asian Calgarians through a series of 10 self-profiles to mark Asian Heritage Month. Here is the latest profile, from Tamania Jaffri

Tamania Jaffri, popularly known as Urdu Mom, is a lifestyle blogger and inspiration to thousands of families

Tamania Jaffri (Urdu Mom) is an advocate for multilingual upbringing. She believes, 'when children lose their mother tongue, they also lose parts of their culture and identity.' (Esther Cho Photography/CBC )

May is Asian Heritage Month. To celebrate, CBC Calgary is highlighting the rich heritage and contributions of Asian Calgarians through a series of 10 profiles throughout the month. We welcomed nominations of diverse individuals with different goals and interests, and a common commitment to giving back to the community. Through an internal voting process, CBC Calgary staff selected the Asian Changemakers for 2022 and asked them each to write a self-profile. Here is the latest, from Tamania Jaffri:


I am Tamania Jaffri and through my blog, I strive to pass on the love of language and culture to the next generation. I moved to Canada almost 14 years ago from Pakistan as a new bride and to Calgary 11 years ago as a new mother. In an attempt to raise my daughter bilingually (Urdu-English), I realized that while my daughter was exposed to educational content in English through videos, books, library programs and preschool, I had to make an extra effort myself to teach her Urdu, our mother tongue.

I'm a huge advocate for raising bilingual children. I believe that languages are the gateway to culture. When children lose their mother tongue, they also lose parts of their culture and identity. There are also various cognitive benefits of being multilingual. As families migrate to Canada, passing on the mother tongue to their children falls on the back burner as they struggle to survive and integrate. This is a huge loss. I try to encourage families through various ways. My daughter and I have been doing a live Urdu Story Time via my Facebook page every Saturday morning for the past six years, viewed by thousands of children. I took a little time off this year due to a new baby. I also share resources for South Asian families to raise bilingual children on my website

My blog has been featured on various media channels for the representation of South Asian families in Canada and advocacy on raising bilingual children. I'm also a TEDx speaker on language and identity at Bow Valley College. My work with Urdu language has been showcased by Language Portal of Canada, Asia Society NY and New York Public Library.

Jaffri believes 'change starts with us when rooted in good intentions and then grows on the wings of a strong community.' (Esther Cho Photography/CBC)

I have worked with various Calgary organizations to reach out to immigrants of South Asian origin through my blog and be a voice of active change. I have been an active volunteer in my local community and have educated other immigrants to integrate through various volunteer positions. I am the chair of the school council at my children's school and been part of many fundraising and volunteer groups in Calgary.

I moved to Canada when I was 28, after getting married. My upbringing, education and experience in Pakistan has taught me to build a strong community, the value of hard work, help those in need, stay close to my roots, be proud of my mother language — pass it to my children — and bridge differences with conversations and stories.

The prayers of my elders and the support of my loved ones has helped me reach my goals and always aim higher. Change starts with us when rooted in good intentions and then grows on the wings of a strong community. I encourage others to have a strong faith in their vision, and keep working hard toward their goals, one step at a time.


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