Simama CBR – Tanzania

Rehabilitation of disabled children in the Archdiocese of Mbeya

The Mbeya “Community Based Rehabilitation” also known as “Simama CBR” is one of the outreach programs of the Iyunga RC Health Centre that belongs to the Archdiocese of Mbeya in Tanzania. The program provides therapies to the children with disabilities by following the concept of “Community based rehabilitation” whereby the whole community is involved in helping the disabled children. The concept embraces the following aspects:

  • Children have access to physiotherapy treatments and social-cognitive activities in three rehabilitation centres;
  • Children who cannot reach the rehabilitation centres do benefit of rehabilitation services at home;
  • Children are linked with schools for inclusive education;
  • CBR workers, teachers, parents and caregivers are trained on several topics in view of improving their knowledge and understanding on disability;
  • Awareness on disability is carried in schools and also in public structures;
  • Provision of assistive rehabilitation devices in rehabilitation centres, schools and also in homes.

As of today, Simama CBR is helping more than 360 children aged from 1 to 14 years regardless of their ethnic background, race, colour or religious affiliation.

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Contact

Iyunga, Simike and Uyole – Archdiocese of Mbeya

Website
http://www.simamacbr.org

History

The Current population of the United Republic of Tanzania is 61’150’000 whereas up to 10 percent of the total population comprises persons with disabilities. Children with disabilities in Tanzania have a higher mortality rate due to the lack of basic healthcare as the parents cannot afford any treatment or assistive rehabilitation devices. Poverty, associated with stigma that disabled children cannot learn, result in the fact that only few disabled children are enrolled in schools. However, the social norms are changing positively and the Government of Tanzania enacted in 2010 a Disability Act that provides for education and rights of people with disabilities. 

Since 1987, the Archdiocese of Mbeya is taking care of disabled children by welcoming them in so-called “Iyunga Vocational Training College (“Iyunga VTC”) for young people with disabilities”. In 2013 it was observed at Iyunga VTC that many young people with disabilities would perform much better if they would have been rehabilitated at early stages of their growth. That fundamental statement triggered the beginning of the Simama CBR programme. Therefore, since 2013 some of the children who get medical and psycho-social support from Simama CBR join Iyunga VTC once they reach the age of 14. They have proved to perform better than those who never underwent rehabilitation at their early stages of growth.

Simama CBR has three centres namely Uyole, Iyunga and Simike and works in more than six schools and also in homes. The Iwindi rehabilitation unit is now fully managed by the Congregation of the Servants of Charity. On top of that Simama CBR collaborates very closely with Caritas Mbeya especially in raising awareness on disability to the community and also in capacity building.

Mission

Simama CBR envisions a society that reduces incidences of disability and realizes the potentialities of the disabled children hence enabling them to participate in various activities for their own future welfare and of the society. Its mission is to strive in promoting Community Based Rehabilitation and the rights for the children with disabilities in such a way that empowers them and their communities.

The Project supported by the Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust

The Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust is helping the children with disabilities in supporting financially Simama CBR with respect to the provision of therapies, assistive rehabilitation devices and medicine in the three Iyunga, Simike and  Uyole rehabilitation units.