Family businesses aren’t easy to run. Added to the general stresses of running a business is the complicated family dynamic. But early childhood educator/Black parenting expert Moya Ojarigi and her husband, Mohammed Ali Ojarigi, have found just the right balance in making their preschool a successful venture in West Hills, California.
Moya, author of “Black Lives Matter: A Guidebook to Teach Your a Child To Overcome Challenges of Race,” runs Inner Child Artistry with her husband, a Nigerian American actor/writer/director.
Together, they have built Inner Child. “I received my Master’s degree from UCLA in Urban Planning, emphasized in Community Development. I thought the best way to help the community is to start with children when they are young. Thereby grooming them to be the next generation of leaders. We officially started in October 2013,” says Moya.
Inner Child takes an interesting approach to child education. “We offer cultural learning experiences based on the experience of people with African Heritage,” explains Moya. “I also develop preschool programs for students of African heritage to love themselves and appreciate their culture from an early age. My husband writes stage plays rooted in the Black experience. I put together a curriculum around his historically-themed plays.”
They are filling a unique niche with Inner Child. “It is challenging for parents to find cultural learning opportunities for their children, so we reach out to local organizations to see if they would be interested in hosting the performance with a discussion afterwards,” says Moya.
Being a family business has come, however, with some challenges, especially when dividing up work and household responsibilities. “The biggest obstacle is overcoming the stereotypical gender roles. For instance, if I need to cook dinner and clean the house. Or if we need to work with the kids,” says Moya.
But there are many upsides to working with your mate. She adds, “I like having the flexibility to go to the park with the kids in the middle of the day as a family. Breakfast time is a very important time for us and we don’t have to feel rushed. It is a great feeling for the kids to see us as a family throughout the day.”