—Says Nigeria is raising a generation that do not know our culture
By Anozie Egole
Mrs. Bunmi Willians a wife and a mother of two and CEO of Ethan & Harriet Company, Nigeria’s leading educational toy company championing the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage through fun and games. In this interview, she talks about the idea behind the formation of the company.
What inspires your toys?
My inspiration came from my children. After children I found out that there is nothing around to teach them whom they really are and their cultural I don’t want to raise foreign children, I want to raise confident Nigerian children so I have to teach them about their cultural heritage and that of Nigeria. They need to have a strong sense of personal identity.
Would you say that your purpose of setting up the firm has been achieved so far since you started?
Yes, we try to do all these through fun and play knowing that fun and play is the most effective way of learning and that was why we created these things. And so far so good, with the type of responses we have been getting from people it has been a huge success. People are getting excited about us and they keep asking us when we are releasing another batch of toys.
We have so many things lined up and we are focused on Nigeria with a broader African context. We intend to promote the culture and tradition of Africa but we are starting with home first which is Nigeria. With our toys, you can visualise Nigeria because in each state, we have a picture of what the state is known for. Like in Ebonyi state, we know they are the salt of the nation you have a picture of the salt there. We just try to make it engaging and interesting and also very colourful.
The more you engage in this thing the more you learn. We have additional information like the year each state was created and there land size, number of local government areas, among others. For us it is just a fun way of creating Nigerian history. It also helps families to bond and also to preserve our heritage. There are so many stories to tell about Nigeria and it has to be preserved.
We are at the risk of losing everything because we are raising a generation that knows nothing about Nigeria’s culture and tradition. An average Nigerian child does not know the capital of Nigeria, states and some past leaders. You cannot blame them because nobody is teaching them. Unfortunately history has been taken out of our curriculum. If we do not know where we are coming from, it will be difficult to know where we are going to. So it is important for our kids to know these.
Having a firm like this that is very time demanding, how do you cope with that and your role as a mother in the house?
I thank God for grace and supportive family. Like I said the inspiration for this came from my kids so they are also part of the business. So for me I will say it is a win thing because I have a great support from them and I also balance everything that I am doing. If they approve of it, their approval is all that I need.
about your new project?
The initiative is a very special initiative that is very dear to our heart. It aims to foster productive learning environment for children. So through partnership with government and cooperate bodies, we want to be able to get these products to public school students and students of low cost schools across the nation.
The benefits of this product cannot be restricted to a certain class and we know they cannot afford it, that is why we are partnering to give these products to the students and 10% of the proceed will be utilised in providing a healthy learning environment by providing things like, chalks, writing materials, tables and seats, and toiletries.
For some of these children, they learn in a very unhealthy environment so they end up missing out in some of the things they are supposed to do. We want to create an environment that stimulate healthy learning. Through this project the company intends to provide educational facilities as well as train the minds of both young and old Nigerians to think positively about Nigeria and Africa as a whole to get involved in the constructive development of our nation and continent.