We have been talking a lot about vocational programs and BCC’s work with programs to provide vocational training for the young adults who receive services from BCC. However, we have not extensively discussed why this is so important for the child, his or her family, and for the greater culture on disability in Tanzania.
The culture on disability in Tanzania is very negative for children who have disabilities and for their families. Children are often kept out of the public eye and families are shamed by having a child with disabilities. The children are sometimes considered a curse and many people believe that the child will return little or nothing to the family through social, financial, or other means. This causes great stress for families and causes many fathers (and some mothers) to leave the family. Often this results in extreme poverty for families of a child with disabilities.
As we have mentioned, BCC is working with local vocational schools to provide employment and educational opportunities for the children who receive services from BCC. These programs will support children to develop skills and acquire education that will support them as they mature into adults. Through educational and vocational employment, BCC can ensure that children reach their full potential in life.
The hope is that the children will be able to gain employment through a BCC cooperative and microcredit programs. This will help the children by providing meaningful employment, support the families by providing economic support and increased family income, and eliminate the social stigma that children with disabilities will not be able to give back to their families.
One young woman who has received vocational training, Leah (pictured below with her proud mother and new sewing machine), now has the skills and self confidence to be employed through a BCC bag making cooperative. Through this employment, she will receive self satisfaction by gaining an income and she will work to break down the Tanzanian social stigma by giving back to her family in many meaningful ways.
If you are interested in supporting a young adult that will soon attend vocational school, please contact Jaimie Anderson-Hoyt at email@example.com.