On a dreary February day amid a never-ending winter, a young Nigerian woman first stepped foot on Canadian soil, and planted her roots in the city of Calgary. Her name was Moji Taiwo and she would go on to accomplish inspiring success in the face of hardship and prejudice. The Kscope sat down with Moji to listen to her story and learn from her new book: I Give because I’m Blessed – I’m Blessed Because I Give – ‘A Chronicle of An Immigrant’s Journey.
Arriving alone to our country in 1978, as a fresh faced and naïve 19-year-old, Taiwo quickly learned that it would take a lot of hard work and perseverance to prosper in her new community. She was the first Nigerian-born, black woman to graduate from the Radio Arts (Communication Arts) program at Lethbridge College. Here, in Lethbridge’s small town of only 60,000 Taiwo met her future husband, and began proving that she was a force to be reckoned with in the professional world. Not one to be underestimated – Taiwo was the first, and remains the only, Black female to have risen to a management level position within the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, Young Offenders Branch. She dedicated her time and energy to the ministry for 30 years before finally retiring in 2015.
Moji’s history is bursting with accomplishments, awards and advocacy. She was a founder and is an active member of the Nigerian Canadian Association of Calgary (1993), the Yoruba Foundation, Calgary (2004), and the Women of Vision, Calgary (2012). She has also devoted her time volunteering for causes that fight to improve the lives of youths, women, families and the community. She did all of this while climbing the ranks of her career and raising 3 children. Never sitting still for long, in 2017, Taiwo’s debut memoir was released, titled: I Give because I’m Blessed – I’m Blessed Because I Give – ‘A Chronicle of An Immigrant’s Journey. Available worldwide on Amazon, this memoir pledges to help readers “find excitement to be their unique self, inspiration to succeed by turning challenges to opportunities; motivation to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals, strength to challenge the standard norms and the audacity to be positively different.”
Please enjoy our following interview with Moji Taiwo:
I know your book “A Chronicle of an Immigrant’s Journey” tells your story in great depth but if you had to talk about one experience that strongly inspired the creation of the book, which would it be?
MT: One of the many things that inspired me to write this book is to encourage people that no matter how tough the going gets, there are always opportunities for successes in unlikely places.
The immigrant thinking of coming to Canada believes the grass is greener on the other side, would you say it is? or it’s greener where you water it.
MT: I’ll say it is most definitely “greener where you water it” No success without hard work.
Your book aims to inspire, empower and motivate the immigrant, what other exciting things should we look forward to?
MT: In my book, the readers will find a little bit of humour with a dash of sorrow, disappointments with a glaze of human kindness and unlimited opportunities to thrive beyond one’s imagination.
“I give because I’m blessed, I’m blessed because I give”. We can tell this is one of your favorite lines, please share why with us.
MT: As immigrants, especially immigrants of African descent, we don’t give of ourselves. We don’t often believe in voluntary services or rendering services that we do not get paid (money) for. Volunteer and Community services have huge benefits including, but not limited to quicker integration to the new country, self-satisfaction, networking, work related experiences for one’s resume, personal discovery, family time and togetherness and of course, role modelling for the children.
Someone reading this right now is planning on migrating to Canada (or a different country), What advice would you give them?
MT: You’ve decided to leave your birth country to move to a new land, it’s best to immerse yourself into everything about your chosen country as quickly as you arrive. Be prepared to start lower than where you were, but be open minded to discover diamonds in the rough. Be prepared to work hard, be frugal with your money and invest wisely. Find and surround yourself with authentic, candid and successful people. People willing to share the types of knowledge you need.
I’ll say be prepared to Listen, Learn, Share and Grow.
Moji Taiwo is an author, mother, civil servant and immigrant. She is the recipient of many community leadership and professional awards including, but not limited to The Governor General’s “Corrections Exemplary Service Bar Award” (2015); the “Solicitor General and Public Security Leadership Award” (2009), and the “Corrections Exemplary Service Medal Award” (2008).
Most recently in 2017, her story was featured one of Canada 150 Stories by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
Learn more and follow Moji Taiwo’s Journey, http://mojitaiwo.com