ELCT North Eastern Diocese
Achievements and problems
The fact that ISB has two committed donors implies a financial security. However, there are still many requirements that have to be met by the school in order to improve its task of providing education for children with low or no vision. At the moment, there is shortage of Braille typing machines (pekings), the special typing machines for blind people. In order to be able to teach the pupils satisfactorily, 10 more machines would be required. However, these are very expensive; one costs more than Tshs. 700,000/= which is equivalent to approximately 700 Euros. Another problem that needs to be tackled is that of dormitories. There are pupils who live in overcrowded rooms, which is not good for their health. Moreover, the school doesnt have a Braille version of the new school syllabus. Shortage of teachers is also a problem and therefore the leadership of the North Eastern Diocese is involved in helping ISB to recruit two teachers.
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A short history of the School
Irente School for the Blind (hereafter abbreviated ISB) is one among the institutions within the North Eastern Diocese that were opened during the 60s. The Usambara-Digo Church, as it was called during that time, was helped by the organisation Bread for the World to build a training centre for blind children. Sr. Ursula Pomian from Germany started the work of constructing buildings at Irente in 1963. Five buildings were built and the school was opened in 1964 for girls only.
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ICH is located in the West Usambara mountains near the district town of Lushoto. The Usambara mountains, which are situated in the northeastern part of Tanzania, are sorrounded by the Umba plains in the north east and the Maasai plain in the south west. Administratively, the Usambara mountains belong to Tanga region which is divided into six districts: Tanga urban, Pangani, Muheza, Korogwe, Handeni and Lushoto. The ELCT-NED covers the whole area of Tanga Region.
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In the early 50s, Mrs. Hildegard Waltenberg and Sister Anna Marie, both from Germany, established a temporary home for babies born in triplets and abandoned children at Mlalo. After a few years they transferred the home to Bumbuli Hospital and then to Lutindi Mental Hospital. Considering the future of these children and the need to take care for motherless/parentless children, the Church leadership decided to expand the home. The decision was to have Irente as the new venue for vulnerable childrens home.
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