GHONA Vocational Training Centre for the deaf, which is located at Chekereni in lower Moshi area, wrote history last weekend after 10 out of its 22 students, seven females and 3 males, graduated after they completed a two-year training course in tailoring and carpentry skills.
Ms Sheila Makindara, the Country Director of Childreach International, Tanzania Office, which overseas implementation of activities and manages the financial resources provided by the donor organization, said the centre was constructed by Woodford Foundation from the United Kingdom at the cost of 298m/-.
She said the Foundation entered into an agreement with her organization two years ago to overseas the activities at the centre while the Foundation provides the funding for the running of the centre. She noted that between 2010 and 2012 the Foundation had spent 141m/- for the centre's running expenses while Childreach International has spent 10m/- on the centre's farming programme intended to make the centre self-sufficient in food supply.
According to Ms Makindara, Ms Doreen Woodford, the founder of the Foundation (now deceased) came to Tanzania to teach sign language, as part of her service to the deaf community. While in Tanzania she met with an association of parents with deaf children in the Northern Zone of Tanzania (UWAVIKA), which include Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Tanga regions.
The 200-members of the UWAVIKA told Ms Woodford on the need to set up a vocational training institution to provide an opportunity for deaf children who have completed primary education to acquire vocational skills, such as tailoring and carpentry, to enable them earn a living.
The centre was constructed with funds from the Foundation for four years from 2005 and that currently there are two modern classrooms, two modern dormitories and a modern workshop was under construction, Ms Makindara said, adding that the centre started enrolling students in 2010.