Tanzanian Member of Parliament, Honourable Shally Josepha Raymond, has celebrated the achievements of the students graduating from the Vocational Training Centre for Deaf Learners in the Kilimanjaro Region. The Member of Parliament, pictured dressed in green and yellow, was the guest of honour at the centre’s seventh annual graduation ceremony.
Seven students, who have specialised in either carpentry or tailoring, have graduated from the vocational training centre this year, after completing their three-year course. In their final year, these students have also successfully spent time putting their skills into practice with local businesses. This is part of the internship programme which Signal is running at the centre with Childreach Tanzania.
The students were able to showcase and sell their wooden and textile goods at the graduation ceremony, where their parents and teachers and local government officials also numbered among the guests. The students created their goods during their course and internships, and the textile goods included kitenge bags, batike dresses and blouses.
Each graduating student has been awarded a start-up kit as part of our internship programme too. The carpentry kit comprises a selection of eleven tools, including a chisel, clamp, hammer, hand drill, plane, saw and screwdriver. The tailoring students received a hand sewing machine, fabric and scissors.
Most of these deaf young people have expressed the aspiration to set up their own small business when they return home from the vocational training centre. Their poor family backgrounds make the start-up kits all the more important to help them on their way to earning an independent living.
The graduation ceremony was covered nationally by a newspaper, radio station and two television stations. The vocational training centre provides a positive learning environment for the deaf young people, who can face discriminatory attitudes and behaviour in society. Such media coverage is valuable in challenging negative attitudes and widely demonstrating these young people’s abilities.