Monday, May 4, 2015

Helping Hands

From last week's self-indulgent Sarah-centric piece to this week's back-to-business news from the front line, I came across this recent article in the Daily News, and thought I would share it with you all.  Seems to signify good news for hearing-impaired individuals in many of the local communities in Kilimanjaro.  Take a look!

A non-governmental organization (NGO), Childreach Tanzania, has initiated sign language training to Moshi Municipal Council (MMC) staff so that they can give quality services to the deaf.

MMC Executive Director (DED), Mr. Shaaban Ntarambe, inaugurated the training on Wednesday, in which the first phase will cover 25 members.

Childreach Tanzania conducts the training under the Deaf Education and Development Programme (DEDP), an initiative geared towards improving the socio-economic well-being of the deaf.

Through the project, Childreach Tanzania conducted research and the findings revealed that the situation for deaf children and young people is poor even at the family level.

The research showed that there are no official records of the number of deaf at the ward level, that some parents hide deaf  children at home, and that many deaf children and youth do not attend school hence end up without education or employment.

DEDP Officer, Mr. Goodluck Chanyika, said the new program covers 398 deaf children and young people as well as 200 parents and caregivers in the MMC and Moshi Rural District in Kilimanjaro Region.

Speaking at the function, Mr. Ntarambe urged MMC staff to take time to learn sign language, saying it is easy if they have the will and that it is pertinent if the deaf are to be served well.  He thanked Childreach Tanzania for their concerted efforts to help the deaf, saying the government is fully behind the plan and he would personally work hand in hand with them.

The DED also acknowledged the contribution by Kiusa Secondary School that has offered a classroom in which training will be conducted once a week.

He said the training has multiple benefits in life for those who learn.  Mr. Chanyika said the DEDP was initiated in June 2014 and has been conducting sensitization meetings and using media to influence community attitudes towards deafness.  "We aim to break communication barriers through conducting sign language trainings to teachers, students, and parents.

"We work with the government to advocate for deaf rights and increase districts' budget allocation to deaf services in Moshi Municipality and Moshi District Council," said Mr Chanyika.

He said Childreach Tanzania also works with schools for the deaf and deaf units to improve services through the provision of teaching aids and other facilities for the deaf.

Childreach has been conducting sign language training at Njiapanda, Msandaka, and Moshi Secondary schools as well as Ghona Vocational Education Training Center.

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