Tanzania News – 1 october 2011 – Training of students with a disability in first week

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After one week of hard working, most parts of the turbine are nearly ready. It was a very exciting first week of the training, with a lot of motivated students which have all different kinds of a disability. However, they have one thing in common: perseverance!

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We agreed upon teaching all students in the second year of their vocational training from the sections carpentry, welding, building & construction, and electromechanics. In classical sessions early morning, the concepts of a wind turbine are explained. Practical instructions are given with the aid of technical drawings and many pictures and movies from previous trainings. The questions they have during these classical lessons reveal that some of the students are very intelligent. They are send to this vocational training center because they have for example a serious physical handicap. After the theoretical background and instruction, we all go to the workshops and start ‘learning-by-doing’. I think this is very successful, because they work and learn on the same speed as I am used to when giving a training for adult Tanzanians with a couple of Engineers in the group.

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About half of all students are deaf. They use a so-called sign-language to communicate with each other and with the other hearing students and teachers. This is more effective than I would ever had thought before starting with this training. I am learning now also their language which is really nice to do and rewarding in a sense that my contact with them gets better and better. My new name in their language is like taking a part of your hear at the forehead in combination with the symbol for ‘white man’. This because of my hair is looking funny to them :-) Everybody gets a new ‘sign-name’ after being together with them for about a day.

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A few of the students have a combined disability, like for example Juma who is deaf and also mentally lacking behind. Nevertheless, he is part of the group. He helps cleaning the workshop, bringing tools from the store room to the workshop, or just holds a piece of metal in the right position to make work easier for the welder. You can see that he is enjoying his part in the whole process! I think this is a true example of empowerment.

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