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New newspaper takes aim at overcoming language barrier

In this edition of Following Up, we check in with the Jagads, Guelph restaurateurs known for their charitable efforts who have a new venture aimed at helping others
Hitesh and Kirtida Jagad recently launched Dhwani, a Gujarati-language newspaper.

A Guelph couple with an eye on improving understanding and building community, have launched a Gujarati-language newspaper known as Dhwani, which translates as The Voice or The Sound in English.

The people behind the newspaper are Hitesh and Kirtida Jagad – owners of the popular Indian restaurant Kirtida's Kitchen.

“People should know what’s happening around them, that was the main focus (of launching the newspaper,” said Hitesh Jagad. “Once it’s in their language, people have a better understanding.”

The free publication launched in March and is preparing for its seventh weekly edition this Friday. Five thousand copies are printed and available for pickup in 30 locations, including two in Guelph, with others in Waterloo Region, Hamilton, Brantford and the Greater Toronto Area.

Efforts are underway to secure a distribution spot in Elora, Jagad said.

Dhwani provides information about government initiatives at all levels and promotes community events such as last weekend’s Doors Open Guelph, as well as re-written news releases from large corporations, a crossword puzzle and more.

“We still feel there is a language barrier and so many people going through it, especially the seniors,” Jagad added, explaining that while he can speak English, his parents would have a hard time. 

“They’re missing so much,” he said of people who don’t understand English, adding they often don’t know government programs and assistance exist and therefore can’t make use of it.

“Due to the language barrier, they might be not understanding how it is going to benefit them ... If they understand, it will help them out.”

The newspaper also includes some “good news from back home.”

There are Gujarati-language newspapers in circulation, but you don’t see them much outside of the Greater Toronto Area, Jagad said.

“We have lots of community living here as well, the population is growing,” he said. “I’ve received lots of positive feedback from the community.”

Once a month Dhwani fatures a combination of Gujarati and Hindi reports. Both are common languages in India.

According to the 2021 census, there are 915 Guelph residents whose mother tongue is Gujarati, along with 670 whose first language was Hindi. In Cambridge, those numbers are 2,000 and 735 respectively.

Dhwani is also available online. Each edition’s content is posted a week after the print copy comes out.

In Guelph, Dhwani is available at The Indian Supermarket and Quality Indian Foods & Spices. 

Cambridge locations are Super India Food Market, Best Indian Grocers and Baba Bazar.