Planting seeds of knowledge: photo of students tending sapling

Planting seeds of knowledge

The Vocational Training Centre for Deaf Learners in the Kilimanjaro Region has planted a grove of some 200 fruit trees. This is the latest project that Signal’s donors and supporters have made possible to help secure the centre’s future and the opportunities it offers.

Planting seeds of knowledge: photo of students and teachers outside the Vocational Training Centre for Deaf LearnersThis centre is the only one of its kind in Tanzania. Deaf young people travel from around the country to study here. It is a place where they can find encouragement, communicate in sign language and gain the employment skills, such as carpentry and tailoring, that they need to lead independent lives.

The centre’s students have been involved in planting the grove of orange, avocado, papaya and mango saplings, and the project will also give them the chance to develop agricultural and entrepreneurship skills. When the saplings mature in one to one-and-a-half years’ time, the centre will be able to harvest the vitamin-rich fruit to sell and to supplement the students’ meals.

Many parents in Tanzania lack the money to fund student fees or remain unconvinced that their deaf child is capable of studying and acquiring a new skill. At the same time government support for this vocational training centre is limited to providing qualified teachers. So it is important for the centre to be able to generate income to help keep down fees to a level affordable for families.

The centre will be able to sell the fruit through its onsite grocery shop, which serves the surrounding communities and has also been built thanks to kind donations from our supporters. This link with the local communities helps to raise awareness about deafness and break down negative cultural stereotypes about deaf people in Tanzania.

Celebrating achievement

Planting seeds of knowledge: photo of graduates and textilesThe Vocational Training Centre for Deaf Learners has also held its fourth graduation ceremony. Many congratulations to the 16 deaf young people who have graduated from the centre after three years of study!

12 of these graduates specialised in tailoring and four in carpentry and they showed off their work in a public exhibition on graduation day. The ceremony and exhibition attracted regional officials and television reporters, invited by our partners on the ground Childreach Tanzania.

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