Brenda is a pioneering advocate for the rights of children with disabilities, especially those with autism and other intellectual challenges. Based in Kilimanjaro – a community where there are still many misconceptions around disabilities and their causes – Brenda is successfully teaching disabled youth, enabling them to become productive members of the community and live their lives with dignity.
Brenda received a degree in Occupational Therapy and then worked at the local YWCA Children Rehabilitation Center. In her role, Brenda visited schools to learn more about their special education classes. Brenda observed these classes and realized they were not successful in their intended mission and in fact were actually limiting the opportunities for children with disabilities.
In 2009, she founded the Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre to support children with disabilities in their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Today, the Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre is a leading model for therapy services for children with autism and learning disabilities in Tanzania, providing comprehensive services in early assessment and intervention, inclusive education, vocational training, and community outreach. Through this approach, Brenda is not only transforming the lives of children with disabilities and their families; she is also changing the perception of disabilities and working tirelessly to remove the stigma and fear associated with them.