By: Mpofu Sthandile.
The famed 20th century activist and educator Helen Keller once said, “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people”. With access to sound, children with hearing loss will not only connect with people and life, but also develop language and speech, and gain their independence so that they can ultimately contribute to society at large.
“Money is the last thing that should stand in the way of receiving the gift of hearing and spoken language,” says Erika Basson, manager of the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa. “And that is our reason for being: To raise funds to help underprivileged deaf children hear. We believe the ability to hear and communicate creates independence and better educational outcomes so that children can reach their full potential.”
But the gift does not stop at hearing. “We raise funds for the solution, not just for the intervention, which includes quality education, speech therapy, and rehabilitation, and well as teaching others how to best support children with hearing loss.
“Since 2011, the Foundation has raised millions of rands to fund cochlear implants and hearing aids, full bursaries (meals included) for hundreds of deaf children from economically poor households to attend the inclusive, mainstream school Eduplex in Queenswood, Pretoria, as well as training in deaf education for teachers, parents, and professionals from 45 countries worldwide.”
Basson believes the foundation is unique in that it works with parents or patients to raise funds. “Their responsibility and dedication towards the process is very important. It shows us that our beneficiaries are committed to meet future expectations to ensure good progress and successful outcomes. It is also great fun to come up with creative ways of raising money and at the same time it teaches children and parents some entrepreneurial skills and to take responsibility for their future.”
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