Mission & Objectives

Mentally disabled children in Tanzania have limited possibilities to develop their capacities. Many of these children also suffer from epilepsy and in Tanzanian culture, both are taboes and reflected upon as punishment by God. Children with a handicap are kept out of sight and their family members are considered to be inferior and are treated as exiles.

 

Mission Statement

The Sibusiso Foundation strives to ensure the dignity of mentally disabled children from all cultural and religious backgrounds, to help them discover and develop their potential and to facilitate their integration into society.


Objectives

Sibusiso strives to bring about positive changes in the lives of mentally disabled children in Tanzania. We try to do this in the following ways:

 

1. Special education to help mentally disabled children discover and develop their potential

 

The mentally disabled children of Tanzania are a neglected group. The lack of attention and special education facilities inhibit the development of their full potential, as a result they needlessly fall behind. Tuned to their special needs and their interests, the Sibusiso Centre provides mentally disabled children with integral education to stimulate their development. The majority of the children who leave the centre after a certain period show an enormous improvement.

 

2. Counselling of family members, in the centre and in their community

 

Not only are mentally disabled children in Tanzania denied, but their families are also rejected by society at large. In addition, parents tend to neglect their children because handicaps are looked down upon by society, Therefore, an indispensable part of the Sibusiso programme is counselling the families of mentally disabled children and the communities in which they live. Counselling consists of several activities:

 

  • Giving attention and support, currently an important missing feature of Tanzanian society. 
  • Setting an example in everything Sibusiso does: the approach to mental disability, the interaction with mentally disabled children, advocating their rights.
  • Providing education on mental disabilities by differentiating between facts and fiction and teaching parents how to stimulate the development of their mentally handicapped child.

 

3. Assistance in accessing the different social services

 

Tanzania does not have the same facilities for mentally disabled children as the US or other Western Countries. There are very few special schools. In addition, parents of mentally disabled children often do not know what their rights and options are, for example the right of a mentally disabled child to standard education. Sibusiso provides assistance in accessing the available social services.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Networking between Sibusiso and other organisations

 

Networking is essential for the organisation's success, especially for referral and fundraising. Currently there is close contact with Monduli Rehabilitation Centre, a number of special schools (Okokola, Uhuru), and the doctors at Mount Meru and KCMC Hospitals. The existing contacts are maintained, and new ones made continuously, for example the new contact with TAMH, the Tanzanian Association for Mentally Handicapped.

 

5. Creating awareness of the situation of mentally disabled children

 

Creating awareness of the situation of mentally disabled children is a continuous process. An important step in this process was the presence of Mama Anna Mkapa, the First Lady of Tanzania, at the official opening of Sibusiso. In her speech it became apparent that more attention should be paid to the mentally disabled of Tanzania, that more services should become available, and that we have to join forces to improve their situation.

 

 

 

 

6. Advocating the rights of mentally disabled children

 

All the objectives are derived from the basic assumption that mentally disabled children have the same rights as any other human being. The objectives of Sibusiso are in accordance with the United Nations Standard Rules, point 25, page 11, which states that:

 

"The principle of equalisation implies that the needs of each individual are of equal importance, that those needs must be made the basis for the planning of societies and that all resources must be employed in such a way as to ensure individual has equal opportunity for participation."