Monday, December 24, 2012

Tignish writer educates through stories -
Wed, 11/28/2012 - 05:15
By Cindy Chant
After experiencing racism himself, new Tignish resident Joel Assogba wanted to put a stop to it. He plans on fighting back by using education instead of anger.
“We can’t be by-standards when someone else is suffering,” said Mr Assogba, who felt as though he had to give something back to humanity by teaching universal values such as love, compassion and respect.
Mr Assogba is an African-Canadian Japanese, who is a writer-illustrator and a passionate speaker. He has published many trilingual books and articles in Japan’s main newspapers including: Yomiuri, Asahi and Mainichi. After becoming an author for five popular illustrated books; “The Rainbow’s Kids”, “Wind of Freedom”, “What Color Are Burdocks”, “I’m not a Foreigner”, and “Respect for Life”, he quickly decided to get the word out by talking to elementary students.
“Values are missing in society today so that is why there is a lot of bullying and racism...people don’t want to stand up and fight that because it is a difficult challenge.”
From an early age Mr Assogba knew he liked to paint pictures and write stories. It was a childhood dream to publish books for children. So he decided to mix his talents and tell stories. Each book was designed to include English, French and Japanese. 
“I don’t want to do it for the is all about educating the future generations.”
Early into his teachings he visited an elementary school off-Island where a five-year old student told him that the only thing clean was the palm of his hands. She proceeded in telling him to go and take a bath because he was dirty. 
“This was the best time to educate her...I showed her by washing my hands for four minutes. She was so surprised to see nothing changed,” said Mr Assogba, who explained six months later he was called back to the school where the student was waiting to give him a hug for the lesson she had learned.
“That made me very happy...she became my friend.”
Mr Assogba has travelled all over Japan to give lectures on parenting, education of the heart, univeral values, crime prevention, human rights, antiracism, non-violence and peace. He also held a special literary event in English, French and Japanese for students and other invited guests at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. He now works for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Tignish.
“You have to have fearless courage in life...sometimes it is just pure ignorance and we can fight that through educating people.”
For information feel free to contact him at or visit

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