In the east of Zimbabwe, kids who are deaf or hearing-impaired are learning new skills and getting care and support from Tearfund’s partner Nzeve Deaf Centre!
Children and people with disabilities in rural areas often lack services and face discrimination. Tearfund partners with Nzeve in a community development project to train people in rural areas of Zimbabwe in disability awareness and inclusion. Nzeve works with people with disabilities and their families to build disability-inclusive savings and loans groups and demonstrate the possibilities and benefits of inclusion to the wider community.
Nzeve also provides young deaf children and their families with the opportunity to learn sign language and prepare for formal education. Angeline and Rosemary (pictured) have learned sign language through training from Nzeve, enabling them to communicate with the deaf members of their households.
Selina Mlambo is Nzeve’s executive director. She says she regularly sees small but significant signs of transformation in the people the centre works with. The transformation she sees is God-filled, she says.
“[I see] God everywhere,” says Selina. “I don’t think you can do this work without Him. When I got into this line of work, I remember my father telling me, this is something you’re constantly going to have to be in prayer for. Because it takes a lot to see the miracles, to see the actual good, because it doesn’t come in big jumps or leaps. It’s just the very little things.
“I see it particularly in the families,” she says. “Because they come here, and they have got one way of thinking, and they have been influenced by culture and by the environment around them, and then they’re suddenly in this environment. I have seen the transformation. I love listening to the parents’ stories, because they talk about their transformation from one point to another.”
Parent mentors play a really important role in Nzeve’s work, assisting with outreach to the wider community to identify children who are deaf and in need of support. These mentors also provide encouragement to parents to seek help, despite the stigma that surrounds hearing impairment and other disabilities.
When they come to Nzeve, children receive a free hearing test. If their hearing loss or impairment is confirmed, they can attend early childhood development classes there so that Nzeve can support them in the years leading up to starting school.
“Once they join the pre-school, we work with the parents as well,” says Selina. “So they are welcome in the classroom, they are encouraged to be there to learn alongside their child.”
Nzeve runs a vocational training centre for deaf youth where, regardless of whether they have graduated from high school, they are able to obtain a certificate in one of a number of courses including building, carpentry, sewing and gardening.
In her own learning of sign language, Selina says that the encouragement she’s received from people in the deaf community has been one of the greatest motivators.
“I think the deaf community is so social,” she says. “The minute you show an interest, they’re encouraging you to learn … it’s such a socially excluded community, and yet they have this love and desire to learn.”
Pray with us
- Pray for the children and young people Nzeve is working with, and for their families. Thank you that with care and support from Nzeve they can find their strengths, gain skills, and access opportunities they might otherwise not have had.
- Thank you for the tireless work of Nzeve’s staff and volunteers. Thank you that in the midst of the challenges and hard work there are stories of transformation, of lives changed.
- Pray for Selina and other staff as their plan Nzeve’s projects, recruit staff and seek the funds they need for their work. Thank you for their passion for supporting and empowering people with disabilities and seeing them flourish.