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Chioma comes to Oakwood!
By: Dwain R., Oakwood High, Toronto, Ontario


Students at Oakwood High recently had a visit from a very inspirational woman ~ Chioma, a Canadian broadcast personality. She shared her life story with students of our school.

There were many difficulties in Chioma's childhood. Her mother went missing during the Biafran War in the 1960s. The Biafran War took place in Nigeria, West Africa, where Chioma was born and where she and her family lived before they fled to Lisbon, Portugal. She moved to London, England from Lisbon before moving to Canada in 1971.

When Chioma came to Canada, she lived in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. While living in Glace Bay, she stayed with her father, brothers, and stepmother. At age 9, Chioma started to be sexually abused by her uncle. She felt she could not tell anyone for fear of being ridiculed. She was afraid. She had to leave.

As a teenager, Chioma didn’t have a social life. While her friends went to the movies or parties, she studied. Her friends mocked her because she studied so hard but once she graduated from high school, she was on her way to getting away from her home and the man who still abused her.

In 1986, Chioma left Glace Bay and moved to Toronto. Since she has been here, she has had three careers – one in sales representative, real estate, and television where she is currently working. Her career as a sales representative wasn’t that great. Working in Le Château, Chioma found herself making only $10,000 a year, and when she asked for commission, her employer refused, leaving Chioma to quit and end up on welfare. She could no longer pay her rent and ended up sleeping in the park for nights on end, panhandling for whatever change she could.

In 1990, Chioma pursued a career in real estate. Thirty real estate brokers refused to hire her but she remained optimistic. In 1991, she was offered a job at Canada Trust Real Estate. She made about $80,000, bought a car, and sold houses that ranged from $5 to $6 million.

In 1997, Chioma was asked by the CBC to fly to Ottawa and interview Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. This marked the beginning of her career in broadcasting. In the same year, she studied broadcast performance at Ryerson Polytechnic University. Since 1997, Chioma has conducted several interviews and just last month, she conducted her own talk show entitled “Up Close with Chioma”. Her talk show gives youth an opportunity to talk about issues affecting them in a positive way. She will be travelling around Canada and U.S. to various shopping malls to host her show. Check your local listings for her showtimes and specials.

On behalf of Oakwood Collegiate, I would like to thank Chioma for visiting our school this year and sharing her life story with us. She motivated us all and I hope we see her again soon.

This article was originally published in Oakwood High's student newspaper: VOICES

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