Hear­ing and vi­sion aid for the needy

Good Sa­mar­i­tans help young girl see and hear bet­ter

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Bonolo Sekudu

ALOT of chil­dren suf­fer alone be­cause of hear­ing and vi­sion im­pair­ment that of­ten is left unat­tended or un­treated. Imag­ine your child not be­ing able to hear in the class­room while all the other chil­dren have no prob­lem. This not only af­fects your child’s con­fi­dence but their school work as well. Orifha Ne­mu­tanzhela (13) who goes to a school in Tem­bisa, east of Jo­han­nes­burg, was one of the chil­dren who did not know the ex­tent of her in­abil­ity to see or hear prop­erly. She had to find a way to hear or see like all the other chil­dren could.

FIND­ING HELP

Shy by na­ture, Orifha found it hard to un­der­stand cer­tain things in class. “I would ask the teacher sev­eral times to re­peat be­cause I could not hear but I did not know that there was some­thing wrong with my hear­ing,” Orifha says. For over 10 years, Orifha did not know that she had an im­pair­ment un­til help came her way. So­cial en­ter­prises, like the HearX Group and Peek Vi­sion have com­mit­ted them­selves to help­ing those with the same prob­lem. The HearX Group re­ceived a grant from the Di­a­geo Em­pow­er­ment Trust South Africa last year and started the Tem­bisa project. Un­der the group, the lives of chil­dren have been trans­formed. Orifha re­ceived the help she needed.

The project man­ager and au­di­ol­o­gist, Re­nate le Roux, says the num­ber of screen­ing re­sources in pub­lic clin­ics and hospi­tals is limited hence the project de­cided to bring the re­sources to those who des­per­ately need them.

“Prob­lems in chil­dren go uniden­ti­fied for a long time and this can cause fur­ther dam­age to a small im­pair­ment they may have,” Re­nate says.

The project aims to reach out to 5 000 chil­dren – a tar­get they have set out to reach soon.

I DID NOT KNOW THAT THERE WAS SOME­THING WRONG WITH MY HEAR­ING

HEAR­ING AND VI­SION AID

Au­di­ol­o­gist, Izelle Neeth­ling, based at the Tem­bisa Health­care Cen­tre says it gives her pure joy to see that Orifha has some­thing to smile about and doesn’t have to worry about be­ing so­cially awk­ward or even suf­fer­ing more dam­age to her hear­ing.

It be­came an emo­tional mo­ment for Orifha’s mother, Tshikharamedza Ma­todzi, as Izelle fit­ted a hear­ing aid for her daugh­ter and as she got to wear glasses to im­prove her vi­sion. “I am just so happy. I don’t want my child to suf­fer and I didn’t know that she was strug­gling,” she says.

Orifha’s fa­ther, Dzudzanani Ne­mu­tanzhela, who looked on in dis­be­lief, is happy that her daugh­ter’s life has been changed for the bet­ter. “Some­times as a par­ent you don’t know and the child doesn’t know, so it be­comes hard for you as a par­ent to even get help,” he says.

It is not all par­ents who are like Orifha’s and that is wor­ry­ing to those who want to reach out to the chil­dren who need help.

RE­SIS­TANCE

HearX goes to schools and uses a tech­no­log­i­cally savvy screen­ing method.

Re­nate says, “We use clin­i­cal smart­phone hear­ing test so­lu­tions to over­come the chal­lenge of pro­vid­ing low-cost screen­ing for dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties through us­age of a mo­bile app to pro­vide a clin­i­cally valid screen­ing.”

Once the process is done at schools, par­ents are sent let­ters and asked to take their chil­dren to the lo­cal health­care cen­tre to be thor­oughly ex­am­ined.

“Some par­ents are re­sis­tant and that is not help­ful for the child be­cause the child does not get the nec­es­sary help they need. They may fur­ther worsen the im­pair­ment and risk chances of ever re­cov­er­ing,” she says.

HearX ap­peals to par­ents to not be re­sis­tant and ac­cept help that is freely avail­able. “We did not have to pay a cent. My child was as­sisted for free. The only thing we had to do was to be sup­port­ive as par­ents,” says Dzudzanani.

GRATE­FUL

Orifha is not a girl of many words but the smile on her face speaks a thou­sand words in the au­di­ol­o­gist’s con­sul­ta­tion room in Tem­bisa.

“I am re­ally happy. I would like to thank HearX for the all their help,” she says.

Orifha and her par­ents walked out of the town­ship’s health­care cen­tre with re­newed hope, a fresh start for their daugh­ter and joy­ful hearts.

“I am so happy be­cause I can see that she is happy. May they not only do it for us but also do it for other chil­dren who des­per­ately need this kind of help. To par­ents who are not us­ing the as­sis­tance that is freely avail­able to you for your child – you are only de­stroy­ing your child’s po­ten­tial and fu­ture,” says Dzudzanani, who is grate­ful for the help they re­ceived.

CON­TACT DE­TAILS

To find out more about HearX, please con­tact 012 030 0268 or email info@hearx­group.com

Orifha with Re­nate le Roux (LEFT) and Izelle Neeth­ling (RIGHT) who are on a mis­sion to make sure that chil­dren from poor com­mu­ni­ties have bet­ter hear­ing and vi­sion

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