Monica Mbelle | Arusha, Tanzania

Monica works as the Regional Director of the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) in Arusha, Tanzania, where she helps ensure accessibility, sustainable education, and provision of vocational training for all youth.

“Disability in Tanzania is both a cause and a consequence of poverty in that a person with a disability is not only economically disempowered, but also socially, culturally, and politically disempowered and excluded,” explains Monica, when asked about her passion for inclusive education. “Children with disabilities have great potential, and if they are identified and fully utilized they are capable of contributing to community development in unique ways and earning a living for themselves.”

In her role as Regional Director, Monica organizes and coordinates implementation of VET policies developed by the Tanzanian government. She also designs and supervises programs and projects for people with diverse backgrounds, especially focusing on youth with disabilities, in order to ensure that they have equal opportunities for vocational training.

Monica has dedicated her career to educational activities and projects that promote inclusion and access to vocational support services for people with disabilities. The goal of these initiatives is to equip people with knowledge, skills, and competencies that will provide them with stronger self-identity, improved social status, and a better chance to obtain productive and profitable employment.

As an ADA International Fellow, Monica was interested in facilitating accessibility and enrollment of youth with disabilities in schools and vocational training centers in Tanzania’s Iringa region, where she resided at the time. She has worked to raise public awareness of disability issues and promote inclusive education while designing best practices that can be replicated at the local level and will engage students, parents, and teachers.

Monica pursued her Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD) under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Fesko.

To read Monica’s project progress report click here.