Tribute to Joe Morrissey: photograph of Joe in Tanzania

Tribute to a friend and pioneer

“Mr Deaf”

We would like to pay tribute to one of the pioneers of deaf and deaf blind education in East Africa, Joe Morrissey, who passed away in his adopted home last month (January 2014). Joe, otherwise known as Morris or “Mr Deaf”, was Canadian by birth but African by choice and after his retirement in 2012 he moved permanently, or what passed for permanent for Joe, to Tanzania, near Mount Kilimanjaro.

Champion of right to education

Despite retiring, Joe was still championing the rights of deaf young people in East Africa to receive both a quality primary education and opportunities for secondary education or vocational training. This was in addition to his personal support for a number of individual deaf children.

Friend of vocational training centre

Joe was a friend of all the founding members of the Woodford Foundation (former name of Signal) and many of its staff members. He was also tireless in offering support to our programme in Tanzania and was there both for the beginning, when the Vocational Training Centre for the Deaf was being developed (2003), and when the first students graduated in 2012.

He was a remarkable and modest man.

For further tributes, please click here.

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