Tochi: The Face Behind Smarter Languages Academy
My favourite one, you made it to July! No doubts, last month wasn’t so pleasant for Nigeria and Nigerians but despite all that happened, you, my darling, survived. CIB sincerely sympathizes with all who lost their loved ones. May God grant them the grace to bear the great loss. To you my esteemed reader, always bear in mind that to be alive is a priceless gift, endeavor to make GRATITUDE your new culture.
For this episode of CIB, a young lady doing great things in Nigeria and beyond is our guest. My first contact with her was in October 2016 when we both won gifts from “under 40 CEOs” on facebook for answering that week’s quiz correctly. By default, we became friends and I am grateful our paths crossed. She is the CEO and Founder at Smarter Languages Academy, Co-founder at Wikimedia Igbo, Ambassador at The Next Economy. This African queen is a mentor at the Bank of Morocco African Entrepreneurship Award and also one of the great minds at Digital Entrepreneurship for Women (DEW). I welcome you to the world of Tochi Precious Friday.
I couldn’t meet her in person to conduct the interview due to tight schedules but she was kind enough to honor my request to be featured on the blog. All I did was to send her the questions. She gave life to every question. Please, read on.
CIB: Let’s meet you dear.
GUEST: I’m Tochi Precious Friday. I’m a multi-linguist and language teacher.
CIB: You’ve been involved in changing the narratives for Women. Kindly throw more light on all you are involved in.
GUEST: So growing up I’ve always seen that Women are underrepresented almost in all areas. Most times, it’s just because of what Society would say. Recently, I co-founded Digital
Entrepreneurship for Women (DEW). DEW is a network which intends to increase the presence of Women and Girls in Technology and the use of technology through trainings where they would learn Website creation, programming/coding and apps development; leveraging technology to build their businesses and also building solid careers in technology.
Also, I’m a Mentor at the Zimba Women Mentorship Program where I help mentor Women and Girls in Uganda in the areas of business and career building. I’m also involved in a couple of projects with the Wikimedia Foundation where I help close the internet gender gap through creating more articles, writing and translating Biographies on Women on the English and Igbo Wikipedia Platforms.
CIB: What inspired Smarter Languages Academy?
GUEST: Hehe! Ok, so one day I was watching a program titled ‘Untold Stories of the ER (Emergency Room) on DSTv and that particular day, it was about a woman who was in a critical health condition. The doctor needed to find out what was wrong with her before they could begin treatment. He realized she didn’t speak English. So there was this barrier and the woman was dying by the minute. They searched through the hospital to find out if there was anyone who could understand and communicate in her Language. Fortunately, they found a security man who spoke just the basics of the Language. He found out what was wrong with this woman and the doctor proceeded with treatment. This woman remained forever grateful to the security man for helping save her Life. I was so touched and I said to myself: “if someone who spoke the basics of a Language could help save a person’s life, how much more I who spoke a couple of other Languages”. Lolz! I just told myself, THIS IS IT. I’m going to help promote bilingual education in Nigeria and reduce Language barriers and foster opportunities across nations.
CIB: What has the journey been like?
GUEST: If I tell you it’s been rosy, just know I’m lying. There’s been a couple of challenges here and there, starting from my parents not believing in my dream and saying I should get a job, to days when I lack motivation and I begin to ask myself: ‘Precious how did you even get here? Who send you message?. But it’s been all good with great people surrounding me.
CIB: What are your high moments since you discovered your passion? GUEST: Well, my high moments have been when I get feedbacks from our students saying how greatly the Language classes have helped them achieve one dream or the other. When we have to deal with people from different nationalities, make friends from different countries, have business deals with Multinationals. Those moments just light me up.
CIB: What do you think is your success recipe?
GUEST: Passion + Honesty + Friendliness + Warm reception + Determination.
CIB Where do you see yourself in the Future?
GUEST: I see myself as one who must have helped make a great change in the Nigerian Education system.
CIB:What would you tell your younger self?
GUEST: Don’t make unnecessary sacrifices.
I hope you loved it. Her story further proves that there is a gift/ talent in us and all we need is that “right” television program, newspaper article, discussion with a friend, moment etc to kindle us to begin the living the life that we have been called for. I sincerely hope that moment happens to you soon.
No matter your path as long as it is the right one, success is inevitable. I wish you and yours the best this month and beyond.
Till the next post, be you!