Close to the end of this wonderful 2012, our Foundation continues to help and educate people in Panamá. During the past months we have been working very actively with different Public Entities and other prestigious Foundations and organizations in order to prevent and find solutions to our people with hearing impairments.
Hearing is Living Foundation in conjunction with Dr. Rowley, Ms. Marcela Perez and students of the School of Audiology of UDELAS University performed hearing screening to students of Masters and Administration of the Intgeramerican University in order to raise awareness and educate the population about the importance of hearing care and hearing.
We visited Martin Luther King School an through the program "Road to Quality" sponsored by UDELAS University we served inset to more than 50 children of 1st grade, to ensure proper hearing status.
We were present at the event FANLYC "Relay for Life"which was held at the Causeway on 20 and 21 October. Thanks to theLeo Club volunteers from San Francisco who supported us and leafleting and to Unique store that gave us their face painting services forentertain children while parents received valuable information.
Congratulations to Saint Mary's School and Lasalle School, these two schools and their parents who supported the campaign Hearing is Living that took place in October where we took over 450 screenings on childrens who now know the state of their hearing.
We also continue successfully in our program of donating hearing aids to the different Institutions in need of solutions, soon we will be releasing more news about our achievements and permanent work towards the improvement on the prevention, education and solution of hearing problems in Panamá...
Month after month in our permanent effort to accomplish our projects we continue adding partners to our cause, now is the turn for UDELAS The University of las Americas, based in Panamá wich not only educates professionals to help in different handicaps but at the same time provides support and solutions together with our Fundation through several campaigns that we have organized within the year, this time we have signed a cooperation agreement to continue providing help, education and prevention to our childrens in need.
We have also received in our offices, our friends from the University of Southern California, after reviewing our labor, they have offered their help and we signed a Cooperation Agreement in order to support in any way possible the daily efforts of Fundacion Oir es Vivir.
So Far we have helped more than 100 children to find its path to the solution to many hearing problems, not only with the direct donation of hearing devices but also making donation through Government offices and other entities, this time we were at the Public School Omar Torrijos located in Paraiso, this is one of many of the public organizations, schools and different establishments that every month receive our visit and help.
We started the year with many interesting moments, among them, the wonderful opportunity to help more children and not so children during the last Special Olympics for Central America and the Caribbean.
Together with UDELAS (University of las Americas), IPHE, Hospital del niño, and with the great contribution of the private sector through, Claudie, Grupo Ortofono and Clinica Crespo we made almost 500 hearing screening tests to most of the participants of the event during "the Health Day".
We have also continued our screenings sessions at diferent locations and institutions such as, King School, MOP Ministry of public developments, Arab School of libia.
At the same time we have been working on finally closing our offcial service agreement with the University of las Americas in order to start officially working and sharing facilities and human resources, nevetheles we have been already working together unofficially for the past 4 months.
Also we participated on the International noise awarness day, by creating a local campaing adressed to institutions media and general public in ordere to maintain one minute of silence from 2.15pm to 2.16pm on last april 25th. Results were outstanding for the first year of campaing and the Center for hearing and comunications has already included Panama through our Foundation. View link http://www.chchearing.org/noise-center-home/international-noise-awareness-day/through-years-participating-organizations
As things are going it seems that we will most probably exceed the planned goal for this year.
Our Foundation closed 2011 with an outstanding performance making effective more than 1000 screenings in different areas of the country, and deriving to proper attention several cases with a close follow up made by our Professionals.
We also started an educational program which will be held not only in schools an institutions but also in Companies and Corporations.
2012 was received with joy and a lot of work, we plan to make this year up to 2500 screenings plus more presentations of our Educational program and as an additional blessing we are planning a Program with National coverage together with a Government office.
We have already started a program with IPHE, (INSTITUTO PANAMEÑO DE HABILITACION ESPECIAL) and within the year 2012 we will be donating part of our stock of hearing aid devices to this Institution in order to help them provide a solution to the people that are in waiting list at the momment, they have the resources to evaluate the receivers of this donation and at the same time it helps our Foundation to obtain the support and recognition that it deserves. We are also planning with IPHE different programs to make screenings and assistance inside the country, which is also a goal for both parties for 2012.
On Tuesday August 16th (2011) I had the absolute pleasure of accompanying Fundacion Oir Es Vivir to a screening in a government-run orphanage.
Upon entering the orphanage (Divino Nino) I immediately noticed the brightly colored walls, playful stickers of Winnie the Pooh characters as basic decoration, and the structure of the building as fairly intact. I also noticed a significant presence of workmen around the building and seconds later my fears were confirmed: the orphanage was undergoing serious renovations, meaning that hearing testings could be somewhat problematic.
We were led into a small dimly-lit room whereby Cynthia and her team were able to set up their equipment, requiring little more than a wall-socket for the audiometer and a pair of latex gloves for hygiene.
Within minutes the first toddler was brought down, somewhat confused and wide-eyed, for a hearing test. The process was tricky: the orphan boy Moises didn't like the feeling of a small rubbery tip in his ear, and decided to continously shake his head or scratch his ear to get rid of it. Testing the first orphan took roughly 15 minutes, throughout which Cynthia's team entertained and distracted Moises in order to get a reading.
The screening tests the inner part of the ear (cochlea) by emitting a high-pitch frequency, vibrating the cochlea and returning the vibration to the fine-tuned microphone of the audiometer. The reading can result in three outcomes: Passed - meaning that the cochlea is responding and hearing appears to be fine, Unable to process / Noisy - meaning that there was too much noise within the room to obtain a reading, or that the child is sick, in which case a reading is difficult, or Referred - meaning that the child should be referred to further testing as there is a strong likelihood of partial or total deafnesss.
The professionalism of the entire team throughout the process of screening these orphans was incredible. Not only were they able to soothe some of the more terrified infants when needed, but they were also capable of performing their tasks efficiently and skillfully in order to get an accurate reading and collect the data.
My initial concerns about the noisy construction were totally irrational as we were able to politely ask the workers to stop during the screenings. Half way through the screening, however, another noisy intruder decided to interrupt us: tropical rain. This didn't phase Cynthia or her team and we were able to continue as planned!
These screenings occur on a regular basis (up to 4x a month), and are an integral part of what Fundacion Oir Es Vivir do. Furthermore, they also perform "screen-a-thons" extending their reach to over 130 individuals across as little as a mere 3 days! The dedication of Fundacion Oir Es Vivir to the cause of raising awareness about deafness was absolutely demonstrated through the hard work and energy from the team members.
Fundacion Oir Es Vivir is an organization which undoubtedly changes lives at a grassroots level, and with more funding across more donor-bases the organizational impact will increase exponentially, expanding programs and truly allowing others to understand the "invisible" disability.
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Panama, Republic of Panama,
President of Fundacion Oir es Vivir
Panama City, Panama,