Signal Charity - Deaf Awareness in Africa

Tanzania is Signal’s oldest international programme.  Since 2004 we have worked with a local parents’ group to construct and staff the first ever Vocational Training Centre for Deaf learners (VTCD) in the country.  Since 2009 we have partnered with Childreach Tanzania to ensure the VTCD’s long-term growth and sustainability.

How we help

The VTCD opened in 2010 and its first students graduated in 2012 with the students taking three of the top four vocational examination places for the entire region.  In 2013 the Centre beat this record by taking all top five places!

Besides vocational training in tailoring, carpentry and business enterprise, the students also study a syllabus of academic subjects.  These include technical drawing, engineering science, mathematics, English, Swahili, civics and life skills – mostly taught using sign language.  They also learn about healthy living and modern farming techniques.

We are working to set up and nurture income-generating schemes at the Centre to secure its long-term sustainability.  These schemes are designed to offset running costs and ensure school fees are kept to a level affordable for the students’ families.  They currently involve the sale of farm produce, eggs and goods made by the tailoring and carpentry students.  We are planning to implement a livestock project shortly.

Positive change/progress

  • All academic teaching posts are funded by the Ministry of Education, Tanzania, which recognises the VTCD as an approved centre of learning;
  • Rainwater harvesting provides clean water for health and sanitation, reducing the incidence of sickness amongst both students and staff;
  • Solar panels are providing three hours of light every evening, allowing students to communicate in sign language and continue their studies, in a country which is dark for twelve hours a day;
  • The poultry scheme is improving the diet of the students and the sale of eggs is generating additional income.

Our work with the VTCD is funded by grants from trusts and individual donations.

Find out how you can get involved