An illustrated portrait of Brenda Shuma

Brenda Shuma

Brenda Shuma is a senior pediatric occupational therapist and co-founder and director of the Gabriella Centre in Moshi, Tanzania. Brenda has been working with children with disabilities for many years. While working with the YWCA Children Rehabilitation Centre, she designed and ran one of the first therapeutic weeks for special needs children in Tanzania. As part of her work, she visited schools and assessed special education classes. Brenda saw clearly that the special needs of children with disabilities were not being met in the classroom or in the community. She felt that children with autism and learning disabilities were not given an opportunity for therapy and that more had to be done for them.

Brenda quit her job at YWCA and, with a few other therapists, opened the Gabriella Centre. Their mission is to provide opportunities for early assessment and intervention to children and young adults in Kilimanjaro. She wants disabled children throughout Tanzania to know that there is hope, they are capable, and they can have a brighter future. In 2015, Brenda received a CHILD 10 Award which recognized her efforts to fight for the basic rights of disabled children.