This project aims to educate the community on deafness and this will be achieved through conducting sensitisation meetings and use of media to influence community attitude towards deafness; break communication barriers through conducting sign language trainings to teachers, students and parents; work with government to advocate for deaf rights and increase Districts’ budget allocation to deaf services in Moshi Municipal and Moshi Rural Districts. The programme will also work with deaf schools/units to improve deaf services through provision of teaching aids and other facilities for deaf.
This project will be teaching the deaf children and young people, their teachers, parents and local communities the Tanzanian Sign Language as developed by the Tanzania Association for the Deaf, as well as raising awareness of deaf rights in Moshi Rural and Moshi Municipal. The project will also provide an opportunity to lobby during pre-planning sessions with District Special Education Officers to remind them on the importance of integrating deaf priority issues in the District Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Life skills training will also be provided to deaf young people (in and out of school) particularly in sexual reproductive health and entrepreneurship.
So far the project has achieved the following:
Parent’s mobilization meeting was conducted to 18 parents of deaf children at Ghona Vocational Training Centre for the Deaf. The main aim of the meeting was to inform parents on our new project (deaf education and development programme), orient them on deafness, deaf psychology and culture and positive parenting skills. The programme used that opportunity to organise parents group for those parents coming from Kilimanjaro region. As the result of this one parents group was formed with 11 members, the number of membership is expected to increase in the next quarter after having more contacts with deaf parents.
Towards achieving this activity the programme was able to set out criteria of identifying outreach workers and specify their roles at the programme implementation level. The outreach workers will be working closely with communities at the grassroots level and their roles will include; sensitize community members on deafness, identify deaf people in their communities, identify any abuse cases and report to relevant bodies, educate community members on the importance of taking deaf children to schools and orient deaf parents on positive parenting. The actual training to outreach workers is planned to take place in the coming quarter after finalizing the training curriculum and identifying committed individuals in collaboration with department of education.
Sign language training is progressing well with teachers, deaf students, and Childreach staff, classes are conducted weekly in the institutions, a total of 148 deaf students, 73 teachers of the deaf, 5 non-teaching staff and 18 Childreach staff have been enrolled in sign language classes. Childreach staffs receive trainings every day in the evening 30 minutes before office closing hour. Within this short time since Sign language training rolled out both students and teachers has found the training to be quiet effective in allowing them to communicate and practice Sign Language effectively. The programme also procured 175 sign language dictionaries and it will be distributed at the later stage to parents group, students and teachers.
A stigma towards disability causes the marginalisation of deaf children and young people in a social, cultural, and educational setting. Tanzania has no standard in sign language, preventing deaf children and young people from being able to communicate with their family, teachers and friends. The teachers in the deaf schools also do not have a strong enough grasp on the local sign language to be able to effectively teach their pupils. Deaf children and young people are not a priority for the local government, resulting in a disadvantage in budget allocation and adequate support.
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