The Road to Sustainability
With the Haiti project, Hear the World has provided support for the people of Lévèque, a town nestled on the central west coast of the country around 40 kilometers outside of the capital city Port-Au-Prince since 2012. Established after the 2010 earthquake, Lévèque is home to more than 160 deaf families. The purpose of the Hear Haiti project is to ensure that the hearing-impaired children and their families have access to audiological care and speech therapy and that the children have the chance to go to school.
Place & Year
Project PartnersCommissioned Believers Deaf Ministry (CBDM)
AwardsRichard Seewald Award
Haiti, a country located in the west of a Caribbean island, is affected by natural disasters time and time again, the political situation is unstable, and the health care is insufficient. With 11 million inhabitants and an average annual income of around 480 US dollars, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Here there is virtually no chance of children with untreated hearing loss developing at an appropriate rate for their age. They are referred to as "bébés" and are thought to be mentally disabled. Around 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school.
A home for children with hearing loss
In 2014, the Haiti Deaf Academy in Lévèque set up the project Hear Haiti to ensure early diagnosis and sustainable audiological care is provided for children with hearing loss. The Academy provides a home and education for children from remote regions or small communities who have no language or opportunity for education, or whose parents do not have the financial means to look after them. The teachers at the Academy are members of the deaf community who provide language development, and academic and vocational training, and help to integrate young people into the workforce.
SONOVA EMPLOYEES ARE PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE
Employees of the Sonova Group are playing a major role in setting up and implementing the Hear Haiti project. In December 2013, a team of Sonova volunteers assessed the situation in Haiti and helped to draw up a sustainable project plan, which Sonova employees are now putting into practice together with the local team. Teams of around 12 volunteers travel to Lévèque twice a year to spend a week conducting hearing screenings, fitting hearing aids, seeing follow-ups on children who have already been fitted, and repairing broken hearing devices. They also train local project staff to build up knowledge on site and thus ensure that they can provide long-term audiological care independently and create jobs in the local area.
The teams also conduct hearing screenings in surrounding schools to identify deaf children as soon as possible and provide them with hearing aids so they can learn to talk as early as possible. However, it is not just the lives of children, their families, and the community that are changed by this project; it leaves a lasting impression on the Sonova volunteers too. Susan Honaker, a Sonova employee from the US said: "Words cannot describe how inspiring our time in Haiti was. I am so happy that I had the chance to be part of Sonova's team of volunteers.”