Monday, July 11, 2016

First Observations

After a week of beating jet lag and getting back into my normal routine, I finally have the time to post about my findings during my AWESOME trip to Tanzania!

On our first day, we had a "Survival Swahili" course. Our teacher Francis was excellent. He was patient with our butchered pronunciation, and while a week later I can only remember "asante" (thank you) and "habari" (a common greeting), I learned a lot during that lesson.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down with him to talk some more. Francis is a teacher at a Christian School in Tanzania, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to find out about students with disabilities. He said that very few students in his school had disabilities. One student that came to mind was a boy with albinism. While one may not think that albinism is a disability, it can have an impact on the student's vision. Due to this, it is often hard for the student to stay concentrated. Despite these difficulties, this student is still in the mainstream classroom with some adaptations.

Francis thinks there are a few reasons that so few students with disabilities are attending school. The first is the stigma that surrounds people with disabilities. Many families are ashamed to have a child with a disability, and don't want them to go to school for that reason. Also, there are so few teachers that are trained to work with children with disabilities. While it can sometimes be hard enough to find teachers for a general education classroom, it can be even more difficult to find teachers that specialize with students with various disabilities.

I did learn that there is a woman in a town outside of Moshi that runs a home specifically for children with disabilities. While I wasn't able to get her information, I'm glad that there are people like this woman who are willing to give these children a chance.

That's all for today! I'll be back soon with more information from my trip.


My professor snapped a photo of me and Francis

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