In Congo-Brazzaville, the Challenge Futura Foundation, headed by Congolese engineer Tsengué-Tsengué, has just completed training a group of deaf people in mushroom production. It has provided them with a Fungiculture farm, to launch them their entrepreneurial efforts and ultimately to their empowerment.
The training took place at a workshop called the Scientific city of Brazzaville where the hearing impaired were engaged in the production of mushrooms by combining wood chips, wheat bran or corn and mycelium to obtain the product prized by the Congolese.
The process itself is done in stages, the most important of which is explained by the trainer Dieu-Merci Doubou.
"It is an operation of pasteurization of the substrates of culture of oyster mushrooms, varieties of mushrooms that we do in our site here. So, after the preparation, these substrates or material on which mushrooms grow pass through here to be subjected to a heat treatment, that is to say, by heat, " Doubou says.
Dieu-Merci Doubou is convinced that the hearing impaired have aptitudes or faculties to cultivate mushrooms.
These deaf people, male and female, sometimes work in the sun all day long. According to engineer Tsengué-Tsengué, the training in mushroom growing lasted only ten days. But to turn the deaf into real entrepreneurs, it will take more time.
"The coaching to become a real business will take a long time: maybe 12 to 18 months, because not everyone can have the capacity to be an entrepreneur," says Tsengué-Tsengué.
At the mushroom farm, mature oyster mushrooms are harvested and sold. This work appeals to Nathan Kianguébéné, a hearing-impaired man who needs more material help to him advance.
"To do a good job, you need materials. You know that we are people living with disabilities. We are part of the vulnerable people, it means that we have many needs", he says.
Africanews correspondent Laudes Martial reports that "this group of hearing-impaired people, already in the mushroom production phase, was trained on an experimental basis by the Challenge Futura Foundation, which hopes to train more in the days to come."