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School For the Deaf, Dar- Es -Salaam, Tanzania

Buguruni School for the Deaf is in the heart of one of Dar es Salaam’s poorest areas. Currently there are some 270 pupils at the school, half of whom are boarders and none of whom is charged a fee. The school is supported by a UK charity, Tanzanear, and by a wide range of organisations from the ex-pat and business communities in Dar es Salaam itself. The school is a happy, peaceful place, with an approximately 50/50 split between Christian and Muslim pupils.

School for the deaf Breakfast club

The philosophy of the school is to stretch the children as much as possible and not settle for lower expectations simply because they have hearing loss – so there is a school percussion band, dance lessons, and regular football games with the International School. Tanzanear’ s prime goal is to help the senior leadership team give the children at the school a chance in life which they otherwise may not have had – deafness in Tanzania can lead to children being cast out of their own homes because they are seen as a burden – and everything we do is designed to give them opportunities.

This comes in the form of helping them pass exams to get to secondary school, giving them vocational training if they are not able to go to secondary school, advising them and their families on options for their future lives and generally helping them with their confidence and self-esteem. Above all however, we simply want to show them love and affection and that someone cares for them. Caring and Sharing’s support has been invaluable in creating an environment at Buguruni where the children feel happy, safe and able to learn.

School for the deaf
Image copyright Hamish Roberts!

Our on-going programme will see Tanzanear building on our computer resource at the school, thus introducing new skills to the staff and the children, building a laboratory where we can make our own ear moulds at the school and maintaining our programme of upgrades to classrooms, dormitories and dining facilities. In the past couple of years the children have nearly all been fitted with hearing aids and we are starting to see the benefits of those coming to the fore. Whilst Swahili sign language remains the language of first choice for the pupils, visitors are increasingly starting to hear the sound of voices around the school which is marvellous. The school is a second home for many of the children, as they live so far away. It is a testament to all those who support it that it is a happy friendly environment full of cheerful smiling faces, and visitors from near and far.

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