Hearing and vision aid for the needy
Good Samaritans help young girl see and hear better
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.
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.
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.
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.
To find out more about HearX, please contact 012 030 0268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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