Peter Mayoki on behalf of Deafblind Assistance Services, Tanzania
Ensuring Tanzanian children who are deafblind receive the right to an education
This project will take place in the Arusha region of Tanzania, where access to education is not guaranteed for children who are deafblind. It is often difficult for parents to gain access to help and support, as awareness of the specialized educational needs of these children is low.
Deafblind Assistance Services recently began working towards ensuring access to special needs education for children who are deafblind. The project will undertake training of local teachers in special needs units on how best to engage and educate children who are deafblind. Moreover, this project will provide specialized equipment for medical assessment, as well as sports and educational equipment.
Increasing awareness is an important goal for this project. By engaging the local government, local communities, and political and religious leaders, the team aims to raise the profile of deafblind children and the problems that they and their families face. Additionally, by working as advocates with government officials, the project will aim to instigate the creation of clear policies about the rights of children who are deafblind.
Through improved education and awareness, Deafblind Assistance Services hope to improve the future employment opportunities for these children in the long term. If successful, this project will significantly improve not only the lives of children who are deafblind, but also their families and local communities in the Arusha region of Tanzania.
By 15 March, 2014, 316 children had benefited from the project, which was more than double the original target! Since the start of the project, Deafblind Assistance Services have provided 70 pairs of spectacles, 10 hearing aids, 5 white canes, and 5 magnifiers, provided medication to 150 children, and advice on how to care for eyes and ears to avoid infections to 200 children. Deafblind Assistance Services have also trained 75 local political and religious leaders on all issues relating to deafblind children, especially those of primary school age. Following these training sessions, having seen first-hand the challenging nature of the work, three members of parliament suggested proposing a bill to the House of Representatives that a budget be set aside for all organizations that support children with disabilities.
Feedback received from a participant of one of the training sessions:
"Why don't you conduct this kind of training all over the country? If not, conduct it in zones so that a number of leaders could be aware, this will make it simple for them to pass different policies regarding deafblind easily."
Mr Berege (Karatu District Executive Director)
Last update September 2014.