According to their website, “Tai Tanzania (Tai) is a youth-led non-governmental organization (NGO) that believes that education is a powerful tool in helping young people to reach their full potential.  Tai was founded in 2012 and registered in 2013.  Tai’s vision is to create social behavioral change in order to live in a society where youth are responsible leaders in ensuring sustainable development.  In order to do so, Tai focuses on creating environments that will foster adolescents’ access to school, since education plays a crucial role in children’s and adolescents’ future lives.”

Using 3D animation videos to create awareness about issues faced by various groups of marginalized people in Tanzania, Tai aims to reduce stigma and taboo related to these populations.  Past projects have included sexual/reproductive health and disability.

Having been introduced to members of the Tai team at the Segal Family Foundation annual general meeting in 2019 (they are a fellow SFF grantee), The Toa Nafasi Project reached out to Tai to collaborate on a short video PSA.  We wanted to show parents of students with learning disabilities how their cooperation with us and with the administrations at the government schools can benefit their children’s learning and development.  We think the end result below is an outstanding example of what can happen when two great organizations come together to create a powerful message of advocacy and awareness.

 

Although you really don’t need to know Swahili to understand the video, I have taken the liberty of providing a brief play-by-play here.

The video opens with a young pupil reading a full sentence perfectly and then the voiceover tells us it’s important to know how to read well like this child.

All the students in this class are relied upon to read and write well.

As a worried-looking Mariam prepares for her turn to read, there is some chuckling from the class and then the boy who read well says that Mariam will make a mistake.

Mariam stands to read but stutters.  Even though she enjoys reading, she is not good at it and has already repeated a grade.  She really wants to learn to read but it hurts badly that she cannot.  The teacher shames her with harsh words in class and later on the playground, her friends tease her about being held back.  Mariam’s feelings are hurt and she wants to give up hope.

Mariam could receive consolation at home when her mother examines her books and asks her about her day.

Except that isn’t her real life….her mom is on the phone when she gets home from school and Mariam falls asleep without doing her homework.

A chicken crows on a new day and the voiceover tells us that Mariam can indeed succeed at school if she is loved and believed in.

Yes, Mariam has a challenge of knowing how to read.  Thus, she needs to be followed up closely and led by a teacher who knows how to teach such children with challenges like hers.

Enter Teacher Vumi.  She uses creative techniques to teach that wake up her students, so that Mariam can read and count and play joyfully with her peers.

Every child has the chance to do well in his/her studies and parents have a big contribution to ensure this happens.  The success of a child is the responsibility of all of us.  Teachers do their responsibility in school and parents make their contribution at home.