Head of Office and Representative of United Nations Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Zulmira Rodrigues has committed and promised to mobilize other sectors to support creation of a better living environment for children at Buhangija Integrated School for Disabled in Shinyanga Region.
Ms. Rodrigues reiterated her remarks during a brief visit to the school in December 2014, where she witnessed the reality of everyday life of the children with disabilities. “I will do all I can to make sure the children not left alone, and can have a happy a life as any other children in Tanzania.”
The children’s centre is faced with major problems such as lack of medical care and an inadequate number of teachers and dormitories - making life difficult for children with disabilities. The children urgently need necessary essentials such as clothes, beds, books and others.
The Head of the Integrated School of Disabled Children Primary School in Shinyanga Buhangija Loyce David revealed to the UNESCO head that the centre is hosting about 210 pupils with hearing, visual and skin disabilities. The children are daily faced with many challenges, including provision of proper food.
“These children are faced with poor nutrition because they only have similar diet every day and sometimes not even enough food for a meal” said Loyce adding that lack of inadequate nutritious food affects children’s growth and wellbeing.
School becoming Overcrowded
The school is overwhelmed - it now hosts more children with albinism than expected, due to the recent attacks, which jeopardize their security. There has been a wave of killings and other abuses for children with albinism, such as mutilations and removal of body parts for alleged witchcraft beliefs. Formerly, the center was hosting only children with eye disabilities. Most people with albinism have impaired vision, however they also have a severe risk of skin cancer and other specific need which the center cannot necessarily cater for.
Loyce said it has been difficult to get support from government to avail them with a health worker and doctor because the school cannot afford to pay for the two. She also called for help to increase number of dormitories because of increased number of children of different age groups.
She told UNESCO head that the centre was running shortage of teacher for the ear impaired children and called for support from on different like-minded organizations and government entities.
Text and Images: Zainul Mzige
Original article available in Kiswahili here: http://dewjiblog.com/2014/12/02/shule-ya-walemavu-buhangija-jumuishi-yaelemewa-na-changamoto/