Yambeka Children Media was founded in Columbus Ohio (USA) by Helvi Itenge-Wheeler a Namibian American who moved to the United States in 2001 to complete her higher education.
Yambeka is a term which literally means “ Blessed ” in the Oshiwambo language, spoken by the Ovambo people in the southern African country of Namibia. Yambeka Children Media was created to promote African literature, languages, and short stories for children.
While in the America, Helvi found it challenging to educate her children in her native language Oshiwambo because she could not find children’s books written in her original language. Determined to teach her children Oshiwambo, she began to create her own babies and toddlers books using tools available from her own resources.
In July 2009, Helvi arrived in Nairobi, Kenya with her family as a result of her husband volunteering with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). She was excited to learn and teach her children Swahili. However, after visiting a number of books stores, she was disappointed to discover that she could not locate babies or toddler’s “Swahili and English” books in the stores.
As a result of this challenge, and after consulting with Kenyan Swahili speakers, Helvi decided to embark on creating a fun and easy to read picture book that identifies objects, animals, and nature in Swahili and English. Combining colorful and vibrant pictures that excite and provoke learning activities from children, “ Baby’s 1st Kiswahili Book ” was developed! Helvi believes that reading to children is important; she has found numerous educational studies that demonstrate that when parents read to their children at an early age, the child is more receptive to reading.
Helvi is married and a mother of two young children. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from Wilberforce University in Ohio (USA) and thereafter a Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in E-Learning, at the University of Illinois (USA).