December 3rd is the International Day for People with Disabilities. This is a very important day every year in the Shanga calendar, so having the opportunity to celebrate with the larger Arusha community was a bonus.
We eagerly accepted an invitation from the Sibusiso Foundation Arusha to join them; Patandi Teachers’ College, Jaffery Academy SEN. Step by Step Learning Centre, The Plaster House, Monduli Rehabilitation Center and others in the preparation and participation in the 2019 World Disability Day in Arusha.
A fun day was planned commencing with a 6 km walk from Sibusiso to Tengeru and back. The brass band from JWTZ Monduli Barracks set the tempo for the walkers and a party atmosphere insured. Shanga’s group of 20 enthusiastically joined in. Though exhausted there was no time for resting as it was time for more festivities.
Shanga’s Choir performed. A sight to behold. Our choir is composed of some of our staff who are deaf; dancing, signing and all in synch with their chosen songs. Other performances were by teachers and caregivers from Sibusiso with their students joining in at will, a very talented student from Monduli and a troupe of acrobats tumbled & somersaulted throughout the day. Ability evident everywhere.
All organisations involved in the day had space to showcase who they are and what they do. It was a great time to share, catch-up and swap ideas. A highlight from Shanga was Brown George, Vincent and Jackson face painting many happy and eager children, they painted so many they lost count.
No event of this calibre is without speeches by inspirational people. The guest of honour Amina Mollel, Arusha’s nominated member in the Tanzanian Parliament, highlighted the importance of education for people with disabilities and for parents to make sure their children have a chance. Her Mum made sure she was given chances against all advice from others and see what she has achieved, amazing. Having a disability should not be a reason to limit a person's success. Amina was also spotted throughout the day wearing one of the hundreds of caps donated by Shanga.
The day was all about enlightening and raising awareness within the wider community that people with disabilities have abilities and amazing potential. We believed this was greatly achieved. Shanga staff were very happy to be present and suggested, next year we close the workshop for the day so everyone can go. Let’s see if can make that happen.
Shanga’s purpose-built, open workshop is located in the grounds of Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge and is a wonderful experience for visitors to meet the inspirational staff, to view and participate in the creative process behind Shanga products.