Vodacom employees donate braille educational materials to support children with special needs in Dar es Salaam.
Vodacom employees, under the Pamoja na Vodacom initiative have today donated items to aid the learning of visually impaired special needs students at Uhuru Mchanganyiko at an event held at the primary school grounds in Ilala, Dar es Salaam. The school is comprised of over 150 pupils living with physical disabilities that impair their ability to learn.
Quality education for all is one of the pillars of the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation thus the provision of educational materials and assistive devices for the blind and visually impaired will help the school meet the educational requirements of the children with special needs. Accessibility of braille textbooks and other written material in Tanzania is difficult and the donation aims to alleviate part of this obstacle.
The contributions by Vodacom employees include 10 braille machines and 30 braille paper, chairs, plastic files and frames with stylus with will that will assist learning for the 67 visually impaired children at the school. Now teachers will be able to produce braille notes and tactical resources to support students with visual impairment in their work. In addition Vodacom employees also donated to essential supplies such as clothes, soap bars and food items to the school
Speaking on behalf of Vodacom employees, George Lugata, Executive Head of Department Dar & Coast region, Consumer Business Unit said, “Education is a fundamental human right and a key aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals. We recognize the important role that Uhuru Mchanganyiko plays in nurturing disadvantaged children with disabilities by providing them with a quality education in spite of their limited resources; it is our hope that our contribution will help them meet the students’ needs”.
The Vodacom Tanzania Foundation has been an instrumental vehicle for Vodacom and its employees to give back and play a part in uplifting the underprivileged in their neighborhoods and communities. Pamoja na Vodacom is one of its philanthropic undertakings, through this initiative, Vodacom employees become transformative change agents by championing causes that are close to their hearts in the community.
"We are passionate about making a meaningful and sustainable contribution in our communities; it has been our culture for the past 12 years under the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation,” said, Mr. Lugata, who initiated the charity drive to Uhuru Mchanganyiko. He added that the company was delighted to extend their support to the school once again following a TZS 12 million donation in 2011 to help build dormitories and toilets for the students.
Stella Ikupa Alex, Deputy Minister responsible for people with disabilities from the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Coordination, Parliamentary Affairs Labor and Disabled) thanked the company for the support and explained that the assistance reduces the government’s burden on serving the school while urging other institutions to follow suit.
“More than half of children with disabilities do not attend school in Tanzania as a result of their conditions, we currently have 4.2 million Tanzanians living with disabilities.” said Deputy Minister Stella Ikupa. “Despite the notable progress that has been made, there are children who are still excluded from accessing quality education. With the assistance of institutions like the Vodacom Foundation, we are able to ensure that more students living with disabilities are no longer marginalized in the education space,” she added.
The school’s principal teacher, Anna Mshana expressed her gratitude on behalf of the students, "we are awestruck by the generosity of Vodacom employees, their gift will provide essential materials that will enhance the learning experience of our students who come from overwhelmingly low-income communities," she said.