Tanzania has a population of 46 million with an estimated 18,400 deafblind people.
Families are often large, many live in poverty and the demands of caring for a deafblind child can be overwhelming. They are often ostracised, and without support from Sense International many deafblind children will die before the age of five.
Sense International Tanzania started work in 2006. There are now ten schools in the country which have specialist units for deafblind children, which we have supported with training, assessments, learning materials and by developing a standardised curriculum.
“Chausika had a tough start to life – the fifth of seven children. She couldn’t communicate, walk or look after herself. Now she interacts happily with her brothers and sisters, can feed herself and is learning daily living skills.”
Watch our subtitled video that briefly outlines the work we do in East Africa.
We work with government and education institutions to improve deafblind / MSI people’s access to appropriate education. We have:
- Established seven new special education units in Tanzania since 2008 in addition to the three which existed.
- Trained 43 teachers, 20 house carers and 14 school inspectors; and developed learning materials for use in the ten schools.
- We helped the Tanzania Institute of Education to develop a standardised curriculum for deafblind children.
- Over the last three years we have also supported 57 children with community-based rehabilitation in their homes, training 23 community workers from local partners to deliver these services.
- We aim to transform ten deafblind education centres into Regional Deafblind Resource Centres. These will provide specialist assessments for all deafblind people and offer community-based education services in partnership with government - whilst continuing to provide a quality education for pupils at the centres.
- We are supporting Patandi Teachers Training College to develop a Special Needs Teacher Training course in deafblindness to ensure that teachers can learn the specialised skills needed to educate deafblind children whether at home or in the classroom.
Campaigning and advocacy
We work closely with the government and Ministries of Health and Education to develop appropriate services for deafblind people.
- We have supported families to set up The Tanzanian Association of Parents with Deafblind Children, which runs training programmes for 99 members that teach communication, advocacy and leadership skills.
- We are lobbying the Government to provide teacher aides so that all deafblind pupils can receive one-to-one help.
- We are campaigning for the government of Uganda to immunise against rubella – which causes thousands of children to be born deafblind when their mothers catch this during pregnancy.
- We raise awareness of deafblindness by using newspapers, radio and television and encouraging families to participate in national events.
- We educate people about deafblindness in rural villages, working with women’s groups, village elders and other community groups.
Sense International (EA) Tanzania
Tanzania Society for the Blind (TSB)
Sinza, Near Small Ubungo Bus station
P.O BOX 72653
Tel/Fax: +255 22 246 1482
First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Tuesday 27 January 2015