In our last newsletter we mentioned that we will be de-activating our project soon, because of the massive donation we have received from the Hear the World Foundation. The equipment was delivered, and as soon as the soundproof booth arrives, we can set up a state-of-the-art hearing clinic in our rural area! What a moment! As promised, please find the attached pictures of some of the equipment in this report, as well as the boards that was put up at all the clinics to inform everybody that sees it of our project and to encourage the mothers to bring their children on the designated days! Our utmost thanks to everybody who has helped us to realise this dream! Be sure that you have helped us change the lives of all our deaf children in our area and have contributed towards a bright future for them!
One of our kids who was diagnosed with hearing loss last year, has recently become a candidate for a cochlear implant. Blessing Tsenoli is a 3-year old boy who was diagnosed with profound hearing loss last year. He has been wearing hearing aids since October 2013, but as we suspected, his hearing loss is so great that even the strongest hearing aids cannot make speech audible enough for him to learn spoken language. Therefore he needs a cochlear implant so that his brain can have access to speech in order for him to learn to talk. There are only two schools for the deaf in our province, and although we are grateful for the work they are doing, it is not the best option for Blessing and his family. His family would like him to learn to talk and attend a local mainstream school, and for that we need your help!
The Free State Department of Health is in severe financial trouble, and there are no funds available to pay for cochlear implants for government patients like Blessing who cannot afford private healthcare. So his family need to raise the money to pay for it themselves. Blessing’s family is very involved with his disability – they make sure that he wears his hearing aids every waking moment, they are looking after the hearing aids extremely well and they attend all their appointments with myself and the speech therapist without fail.The whole family is actively involved with the whole therapy process. Blessing has been through all the evaluations to determine if he is a good candidate for a cochlear implant, and the general impression seems to be very positive! Blessing’s mum is the only employed family member – she is a security guard at the local magistrate’s court, and his father is waiting to hear if he has a contract with another security company as well. Their total monthly income for the family is about $400, so they desperately need our help! We are providing all therapy and audiological services for free, but the family wants to maintain the hearing aids – buy batteries, earmolds, etc.
We need to raise about $15 000 for the implant – it is very expensive, but will radically change Blessing’s future! The link for the project to raise money for Blessing’s cochlear implant is http://globalgiving.org/projects/help-blessing-hear/ With our poor Rand, donations received in US Dollar goes a loooong way! Blessing's mother and father are working very hard to help with the fundraising, so we really feel they deserve all the support they can get!
"Hope is not a form of guarantee; it's a form of energy, and very frequently that energy is strongest in circumstances that are very dark..." (John Berger)
Have a blessed day!
The Sound for Silence Team
We are extremely excited to announce that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our diagnostic audiometer, real-ear analyzer, equipment to measure auditory-evoked potentials, video visual response audiometry system, as well as our soundproof booth, all (except for the booth) due to arrive THIS WEEK! We have received confirmation of this massive donation from the Hear the World Foundation in June this year, and we cannot find words adequate enough to express our heartfelt thanks for this donation.
This donation has enabled us to use the funds raised on GlobalGiving to replace a faulty part on our screening equipment, as we no longer had to save up the necessary funds to buy the more expensive equipment needed to conduct hearing assessments etc. We were also able to buy our own printer to print the stickers and handouts that we use at the clinics where the babies' hearing are tested, as well as a laptop for capturing the data and a cellphone to keep track of all the babies in need of some further testing. We were also able to have signboards made up to put up outside the local clinics, which inform and encourage the mothers in the local communities to bring their babies to the clinics on the designated days. Thanks to your generous donations we will now be running an extremely professional and visible screening project at our immunization clinics, in order to detect hearing loss in babies while they are still very young!
In the near future we will be changing our project on GlobalGiving into smaller projects - as we still need the funds to cover day-to-day expenses for running the clinics, as well as funds for auditory-verbal therapy sessions, hearing aids, earmoulds, repairs and batteries. There are also exciting times ahead for one of our families that we work with, as their deaf toddler might be a candidate for a cochlear implant, and they will need some help paying for that as well. Since we will be able to conduct all diagnostic hearing tests locally, we are also free to expand our screening project to include the clinics of the neighbouring towns as well - identifying and helping even more infants with hearing loss!
Be sure to be on the look-out for our next report, as that will include photos of the equipment that we have received as well as photos of our screening clinics!
Thank you again for helping us make our impossible dream possible!
Have a blessed week!
The Sound for Silence team
This postcard is written by Chi Nguyen, our In-the-Field Traveler in Southern Africa. Chi will be traveling through the nine countries of Southern Africa for six months, visiting and assisting our current partner organizations.
On Thursday, April 3rd, my colleague Moeko Shinohara and I had the privilege of meeting Annerina Grobbelaar and visitng the project sites of Sound for Silence. It was such a pleasure to meet a project leader who is so wholeheartedly passionate about the work she does, so much so that you can talk about any topic in the world and she will always find a way to reconnect it to the hearing impaired community! Annerina gave us a tour of her well-kept office, the therapy table and Stokke Tripp-Trapp chair for their therapy sessions, and the clinic at which Sound for Silence conducts hearing tests for children. It is clear that aiding the hearing impaired is her life's mission, and you could not find a more well-equipped person to do so. Annerina is extremely knowledgeable about the field, and she will dizzy you with staggering statistics and astound you with facts of the field all day long.
Sound for Silence has already made what will be a lifelong difference in the life of two children with profound hearing disabilities, and they are looking to make a difference in the lives of many more. GlobalGiving thanks Annerina for a great site visit and wishes Sound for Silence the best of luck!
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." (Charles Dickens)
As a new organisation to GlobalGiving, we had such an exciting time during the Open Challenge, and were delighted that we got our permament spot on the GlobalGiving website! We would like to sincerely express our thanks to all who made this possible - by donating, sharing and spreading the word about our project! We received the money into our bank account about two weeks ago, and with our poor foreign exchange rate regarding the South African Rand, we actually had more money paid in than what we initially expected! Definitely one of the few times that the poor Rand was actually beneficial!
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the unchartered territory that we face in terms of establishing a pediatric hearing care service in the rural areas of our beautiful country. As similar services are fairly non-existent, we have to be extremely creative when it comes to adapting so-called "Western" or "First-World" models of service delivery to suit the infrastructure, socio-economic circumstances and resources of a Third World country. For instance, we have been supplying auditory-verbal therapy sessions to the children in our clinic, but are unable to use most of the traditional toys for learning activities, such as dolls, soft toys, cause-and-effect toys etc, due to the extreme poverty that our children live in, and the subsequent poor exposure to traditional toys. These children are actually quite afraid of dolls and soft toys, and regular toys that we tend to use won't be available at home. The children are playing at home with empty containers, rocks, balls, and an array of home-made toys. They are also not familiar with aeroplanes, trains, and other experiences and specific noise-making objects that play an integral part in learning to listen. But we have been adjusting our sessions and experimenting with alternatives, and are pleased to say that we are making lots of progress in helping our deaf children with learning to listen and talk in a culturally-appropriate way!
Since we received the funds from GlobalGiving a few weeks ago, we have used some of your generous donations to purchase a Stokke Tripp-Trapp chair for our therapy sessions, as well as commisioned a therapy table to be made for our therapy room. This will ensure that the children will be "grounded" during our sessions in order to reserve more physical and mental energy for listening tasks. Know that this will make a huge impact, as the auditory-verbal therapy is where the hard work lies in ensuring that these kids are afforded the same opportunity for spoken language development as their normal-hearing friends!
As for the future, we are saving up to buy a real-ear analyzer, which will verify our children's hearing aid fittings, making sure that the aids are doing in the ears what they say they are doing on the computer screen, thus making sure that we are not under- or overamplifying the sounds we send into the little ears! We are still about $2000 off for that piece of equipment, but trust that we will be able to buy it soon!
" You'll never be disappointed if you always keep an eye on unchartered territory, where you'll be challenged and growing, and having fun!" (Kirstie Alley)
We cannot agree more!
Have a good week!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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