Deaf students train as teachers for first time in Zim

MORGAN Zintec College will this year make history after enrolling three deaf students for its teacher-training programmes, thanks to sponsorship from NMB Bank.

By Silence Charumbira

Lydia Tutani lip-reads what Trymore Manyuchi is saying, as he explains the difficulties he experienced at school after losing much of his hearing
Lydia Tutani lip-reads what Trymore Manyuchi is saying, as he explains the difficulties he experienced at school after losing much of his hearing

Trymore Manyuchi, Gwendolyn Goredema and Lydia Tutani, who have been struggling due to their condition, were accepted for teaching programmes through the initiative of Deaf Zimbabwe Trust, an organisation that promotes the empowerment of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Manyuchi became partially deaf after he sustained burns when he was in Grade 1, but continued at the same school with assistance from his elder brother, who dropped a grade lower in order to help him.

After completing his O Levels, he battled to obtain employment. Although he has some hearing, it is limited, making communication difficult.

“Going to Morgan Zintec is a big opportunity for me,” Manyuchi, who lives with his gardener father and vendor mother in Mt Pleasant, said.

Married with two children, Goredema did not have it any easier, as she became deaf after she fell ill in Grade 2 and faced serious challenges learning with hearing children in the early years of her primary education before her school introduced a class for deaf pupils.

Although she passed seven subjects at O Level at Emerald Hill School of the Deaf, she did not manage to proceed to A Level.

Even though at one time she worked in South Africa as a tailor, she failed to get employment when she came back to join her husband, who is also deaf and survives on meagre earnings from airtime vending.

Tutani, on the other hand, was born deaf and attended Emerald Hill School for the Deaf.

Also married, Tutani worked in Budiriro, making peanut butter, but stopped six months later due to lack of payment and says she would like to assist deaf children.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust executive director, Barbra Nyangairi said while government had adopted an inclusive education policy, where children with disabilities or special needs learn alongside other children in schools, deaf children often just sat in class unable to hear what the teacher was saying.

She said only $20 000 had been allocated in the government’s education budget to special needs education for
307 000 children with disabilities.

“It’s very little. For deaf children to go to college, they need sign language interpreters,” she said, adding that special needs education was expensive and resources needed to be allocated accordingly.

If they were not, then deaf children would fail examinations and end up selling airtime or begging on the streets.

She said Deaf Zimbabwe Trust was in the process of raising funds to provide sign language interpreters for the deaf students at Morgan Zintec.

Because signing was tiring, about three interpreters would be required, as well as assistants to act as support staff.

NMB Bank marketing manager, Lindiwe Thebethebe said they were glad to assist the students to train as teachers.

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