Tanzania has a population of 58 million people of which an estimated 1.16 million people are living with a mild form of deafblindness/multi-sensory impairment (MSI), and over 115,000 people are living with a severe form of deafblindness /MSI. Currently, we are reaching approximately 250 people with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments (MSI) through our activities.


We work with government and education institutions to ensure that children with deafblindness/MSI have access to education at home or at school. Our activities include:

A young boy in a wheelchair, at the front of a classroom, accompanied by a woman, the teaching assistantCommunity based education:

  • Identified 163 children with deafblindness/MSI to undertake home based education.
  • Together with Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) developed a curriculum that is tailored for home based education for children with deafblindness/MSI.
  • Trained a total of 138 mainstream teachers on methods of teaching families ways of promoting learning by their children with deafblindness/MSI at home.
  • Distributed relevant learning materials to a total of 163 children with deafblindness/MSI.
  • Provided assistive devices to children with deafblindness/MSI as necessary following assessments.
  • Provided each of 163 parents with a tablet containing videos of techniques to teach their children with deafblindness/MSI in the areas of communication, activities of daily living and orientation and mobility.

Three schoolboys standing in front of a wall with the deafblind alphabet painted on itInclusive education:

  • Supported the enrollment of 80 children with deafblindness/MSI, with an aim to reach the target of 100, in inclusive classrooms, in mainstream school with the support of Teaching Assistants.
  • Trained a total of 80 Teaching Assistants alongside the mainstream teachers they work with in the inclusive classrooms.
  • Provided teaching and learning materials for each of the 80 children with deafblindness/MSI as per their needs.
  • Developed teaching guidelines for the training of Teaching Assistants.

Read A Review of Sense International Tanzania’s Teaching Assistant Approach to Inclusive Education.

Vocational training

Sense International Tanzania is working to improve the quality of life of 18 young people with deafblindness/MSI by supporting them to implement livelihood activities of their choice, including assisting them to develop business plans, providing start-up kits and assistive devices. Their families are also empowered to provide support to their children. Sense International Tanzania provides the parents with training and support to strengthen their role in advocacy for the education and specialised health services that their children with deafblindness/MSI need. To date we have:

  • Supported 18 young people with deafblindness/MSI (7 females and 11 males), to develop business plans.
  • Provided each of the 18 young people with deafblindness/MSI with start-up capital for their micro-businesses.
  • Trained 18 parents on how to support their young person with deafblindness/MSI with their micro-businesses.
  • Provided assistive devices to 13 young people with deafblindness/MSI.
  • Work with the 18 young people with deafblindness/MSI to formalise their youth group as an association of people with deafblindness/MSI.

A schoolboy smiling and holding his hand up to his left eye

Advocacy and campaigning

We work closely with the Government, especially the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), to develop and implement appropriate services and policies for people with deafblindness/MSI across the country. Through our advocacy work we are lobbying the Government to develop a cadre of Teaching Assistants so that more children with complex disabilities can access education in inclusive classrooms.

We support awareness raising campaigns, using local media, and encourage families to participate in national events that will increase the profile of people with deafblindness/MSI. In addition, through our school and community-based work, we educate people about deafblindness/MSI. We have raised awareness of the public through printed media, radio and television.

We have supported parents of children with deafblindness/MSI to set up the Association of Parents of Children with Complex Disabilities and we strengthened the capacity of the Tanzania Association of Parents with Deafblind Children to monitor the livelihood activities undertaken by their youth with deafblindness/MSI. We run training programmes for parents of children with deafblindness/MSI in which we focus on building their skills in communication, advocacy and leadership, financial management, good governance and child protection.

A boy holding a thread and beadWork in progress

  • Develop a Screening and Early Intervention programme in partnership with health facilities in order to identify children with deafblindness/MSI early so they are given the best possible start in life.
  • Further roll-out and strengthening of the livelihood project for youth with deafblindness/MSI.
  • Provide support to strengthen the Tanzanian Association for Deafblind People.
  • We will to continue to raise awareness of deafblindness/MSI, ensuring that people’s rights are protected under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, so that no one is discriminated against.

Watch our subtitled video that briefly outlines the work we do in East Africa. You can also watch the video on YouTube.


Discover how our work has helped some deafblind children and adults around the world lead better and fuller lives.

Isaya's story

As Isaya grew up, his mother thought she would never be able to communicate with her child. 

Lina's story

Lina, from the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, was born with both visual and hearing impairments.


First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Monday 24 February 2020