Providing education for east african deaf children   

About Us


     Cindi Cassady, PhD

Cindi Cassady was born and raised in San Diego, California and attended secondary school in Yokohama, Japan. She holds a B.A. in Social Psychology from Whittier College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School for Professional Psychology in San Diego (now Alliant University). She recently graduated from the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc School for Peace Studies, with a Master’s degree in Peace and Justice studies with a concentration in human rights and conflict resolution. She has devoted her work in the non-profit sector to developing direct, culturally appropriate mental health and domestic violence services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Through the development of TIDA, Cindi is interested in empowering deaf East African women and children through education as a means of changing stereotypes about deafness and disability in their communities. She has observed different systems of education for deaf children in more than 18 schools throughout Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. She is fluent in American Sign Language and has been learning Kiswahili and Tanzanian Sign Language. Cindi is a co-founder of TIDA and is currently President of the Board of Directors.


    Sia Godson

Sia is a native Tanzanian who had a deaf childhood friend. Based on her desire to communicate with this friend, she learned sign language and has been committed to addressing the needs of deaf children ever since. She resides in Arusha and is currently working on obtaining her special education degree.  She is fluent in Tanzanian sign language and speaks both Kiswahili and English. She has proven to be a sound and innovative business woman on behalf of deaf children, with the integrity and commitment to earn the trust of village elders, parents, deaf and hearing teachers, and religious leaders in Arusha and throughout the country.


    Msangi Charema

Msangi is a native Tanzanian and the owner/operator of Bright African Safaris based in Arusha. He is sensitive to the problems of deaf children in East Africa because his nephew is deaf. He has witnessed first-hand, the challenges of social stigma and finding access to education for deaf children.  Msangi is dedicated to educating others about the needs of deaf children in East Africa.  His company, Bright African Safaris, aims to provide ways that tourists visiting Tanzania on safari can offer their volunteer efforts or donations to help build and sustain Tanzanian International Deaf Academy (TIDA). Msangi is fluent in Kiswahili and English and serves on the Board of Directors for TIDA.      


    Shannon Englehart MS, MFT

Shannon was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She was diagnosed as deaf at 8 months old. She became fluent in American Sign Language in college and became a signer. She obtained her BA in psychology at Kent State University and her Master’s degree in educational psychology at California State University of East Bay. She has worked in social services with Deaf individuals in areas of domestic violence, depression, parenting skills, and anger management, as well as providing empowerment to Deaf individuals to be more aware of their education, medical, civil, and legal rights. It is a lifelong goal of Shannon’s to be involved in many different activities that aim for education and personal growth in Deaf communities.  During her visit to Tanzania in 2011, Shannon had an immediate positive effect as an educated and successful deaf role model. Parents watched Shannon communicate with their deaf children in sign language and were emotionally moved when they saw their children quickly communicating in return, thus realizing the impact sign language and education could have for their deaf children. 


     Kinyasi Monyi

Kinyasi was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. At age 6 he lost his hearing from spinal meningitis. He was able to graduate from Buguruni school for the Deaf in the Dar es Salaam in 2002 and Moshi Technical School, a mainstreamed school in Moshi, Kilimanjaro in 2005. He went to advanced level high school in Dar es Salaam where he was the only deaf student majoring in Physics, Chemistry, and Math with no services for deaf students. He graduated in 2008 and volunteered at the Tanzania United Projects for the Deaf (UMIVITA) and The Zanzibar Association for the Deaf (CHAVIZA) for two years. At UMIVITA he was the founding President of the UMIVITA deaf youth, Junior Project officer, and taught Math and English to deaf students. At CHAVIZA, he was a personal assistant to the secretary general of the Association. In January 2010, Kinyasi traveled to the USA to Ohlone College in Fremont, California where he studied ASL and American English. He was then awarded a full scholarship to attend Rochester Institute of Technology where he is now a junior majoring in Computing Security. From his experience as a deaf person in both deaf and mainstream schools, Kinyasi believes TIDA ‘s approach to deaf education will help deaf children become more educationally competitive with hearing children.


   Res Batamula

Res grew up in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and attended Kibasila Primary School and Forodhani Secondary School. It was during the first year at Forodhani that he lost his hearing and had to attend the rest of the 4 years as the only deaf student among more than 400 hearing students. Res went on to attend Pugu High School and later worked for Tanzania Association of the Deaf before moving to the U.S. to attend Gallaudet University. He was the second deaf Tanzanian to obtain a college degree when he graduated from Gallaudet. Res went on to earn his Master’s degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Among other community activities, Res is involved with the Viziwi project, which aims to empower the deaf community in Tanzania through education, communication and accessibility opportunities. As a deaf person who went through Tanzania education system without any support service, Res experienced firsthand the many challenges faced by deaf people in Tanzania. That is why he believes TIDA will fill a critical opportunity gap that exists between what the government provides and the ever-increasing need for better education for the deaf.