Walking arm in arm towards a more inclusive future where everyone can access sexual and reproductive health

On the outskirts of Dar es Salaam lies a colourful oasis, one where sign language is spoken across the schoolyard and students are adept at assisting one another. Two students, Amir and Lisa, walk arm in arm. Amir  provides guidance to Lisa, who walks confidently with her mobility cane towards the queue to the chai.

At Yombo Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre for Youth with Disabilities, no one is left behind.

Lisa explains how Yombo became an opportunity for her to complete her education, despite her impaired vision. Before attending Yombo, she completed Form Four but was not allowed to continue with her education. She stayed at home in an environment where discrimination and bullies – ‘kipofu’ – were a part of her everyday life.

Lisa dreams of applying her gardening skills in the agricultural sector. At Yombo, she has learned how to grow vegetables and plants – and that it can be done with a mobility cane in hand. Amir describes how Yombo has fostered his dream of becoming a businessman. At Yombo, he helps run the chicken farm and to date, he has sold over 900 chickens. 

UNFPA’s vision is to leave no one behind. We are working to create a world where everyone has access to sexual and reproductive health and rights – with an emphasis on everyone. Yombo, under the Prime Minister’s Office for Labour, Employment, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in Tanzania, is a shining example of this vision.

To the students, Yombo is more than an educational institution – it is a safe space, one where they feel protected from the rejection and discrimination they often face in their communities. The centre fosters an inclusivity that enables them to make new friends, access rehabilitation programmes, and receive educational, life skills and vocational training in trades and professions that can support them inside and outside the centre.

Training in agriculture and livestock-keeping is one of the courses on the Yombo curriculum. Other courses include welding, tailoring and masonry skills. The training empowers and promotes independence for the students, ensuring that those with disabilities fully enjoy the rights and choices to which they are entitled.

Inclusion is at the heart of Yombo. What also lies at its centre is a health facility. As part of UNFPA’s Safeguarding Young People programme, supported by the Embassy of Switzerland, UNFPA procured medical equipment and supplies, and refurbished the facility’s waiting lounge. This way, the students of Yombo  are sheltered from the baking sun as they wait to receive health services.

The easy access to health services and medicine has enabled them to receive timely and appropriate medical care, and referrals where necessary. In addition to the students at Yombo, the health facility serves two wards (Kiwalani and Minazi mirefu) with a population catchment area of about 16,000. 

Yombo is a step towards a more inclusive future. Just like Amir and Lisa, walking arm in arm, UNFPA and our partners continue to take these steps together, to leave no one behind.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA – East and Southern Africa.

The post Walking arm in arm towards a more inclusive future where everyone can access sexual and reproductive health appeared first on Capital Newspaper.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *