Monday 20 June 2022

New chapter opens for children with disabilities in Tarime

There is a new hope for children with disabilities in Tarime district of Mara region to start getting their basic rights, thanks to ATFGM Masanga, a local NGO for initiating a new programme that seeks to address challenges that have been facing the children in the area for decades.

The programme focuses on educating disabled children to understand their basic rights and protect them against gender based -violence among other things.

Under the sponsorship of the Netherlands based Terre des Hommes, the project targets out-of-school and schooling disabled children in the twin Tarime District Council and Tarime Town Council respectively, according to ATFGM Masanga officials.

The project will involve a thorough survey to be undertaken to determine the number of disabled children and their areas of residence in the district to enable programme officials formulate concrete strategies how to reach them for training purposes on their rights.

According to the 2009 Children Act No. 21, disabled children have the right to live freely, to be named, to play, to get food, to get accommodation, to get shelter, the right to clothing, education, medical treatment, and the right to be protected, among other rights.

Leaders of the Federation of Associations of Disabled Persons Tanzania (SHIVYAWATA) in Tarime District say the project will go a long way to have positive results for disabled children.

“We have received this project by ATFGM Masanga with open hands since it will help disabled children to know their rights and understand the inside story of violence against children,” said Mekaus Maingu, the SHIVYAWATA Secretary of the Tarime Town Council.

The SHIVYAWATA secretary of Tarime District Council, Mekaus Maingu, (seated in wheelchair) delivers a paper at last week’s training session for 100 disabled children organized by ATFGM Masanga. Right is sign language interpreter, Getrude Kilavo. (Photo: Mara Online News)

The Chairperson of the committee of disabled people in Tarime Town District Council, Riziki Focus, said the programme will be a “solution to the challenges that children with disabilities face” in the area.

“We’re happy that this project will help to identify the existing number of disabled children. This in the long run will convince parents and guardians that these children need essential services such as education and health instead of hiding them in homes,” Riziki said.

The SHIVYAWATA leaders gave these comments after attending a special training session organized by ATFGM Masanga for 100 disabled children last week.

“Apart from knowing their rights, the children were also acquainted with the various systems of reporting acts of violence against them to authorities concerned,” said the Tarime Town Council Social Welfare Officer Ghati Okoth.

The training was also facilitated by a sign language expert from Turwa Primary School, Getrude Kilavo, who played a key role to make the session fruitful to the disabled children in terms of understanding what was being discussed.

“We thank ATFGM Masanga for this programme. Public awareness on educating disabled children on their rights such as education, health and participation in various activities, is of paramount importance,” Okoth said.

An Education Officer responsible for special education at the Tarime Town Council, Magreth Mwema, said training was a critical agent of change in the lives of disabled children.

“Experience has shown that there’s positive development for disabled children who undergo training or are at school. This is why we thank ATFGM Masanga,” she said, adding that parents and guardians should ensure that such children must get education.
training session underway 

According to ATFGM Masanga, the plan to carry out a survey of disabled children in Tarime district will also involve persuading communities to enact by-laws aimed to protect and defend their rights.

ATFGM Masanga also provides public education on the hazards of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), battering of women and the twin problems of early pregnancies and early marriages to young girls.

Current figures show that ATFGM Masanga has rescued more than 4,000 young girls who were on the verge of forcibly undergoing FGM since 2008 to date.

Stakeholders supporting ATFGM Masanga efforts praise the organization for helping girls realize their dreams in life as opposed to early pregnancies and early marriages.

(By Mara Online News Reporter)

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