Hear deaf Big Brother winner 2013, Sam Evans’ story and how you can help
This week, Sound Seekers is a beneficiary of the Radio 4 Charity appeal.
Listen here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b069gtk9#play) to hear deaf Big Brother winner 2013, Sam Evans’ story and insights into the challenges of being deaf in Africa compared to the UK. Hearing loss is a major problem in developing countries. Please spread the word about Sound Seekers appeal and help them provide the vital hearing care that is so desperately needed in Africa countries.
Happy lost his hearing when he was seven, after suffering from Malaria. He tried to carry on with life as normal but he was isolated, bullied and held back in school.
Imagine if everyone else around you can hear, but you can’t. The world becomes a quiet, lonely place.
I have been profoundly deaf since birth. I have been lucky to have grown up in the UK with world-class audiology services, able to receive hearing aids, lip reading lessons and all the attention I needed. Things are very different in Malawi where Happy lives.
In Malawi, as in many African countries, there is not one single audiologist in a country of 16 million. This means that there is no one at all who is professionally trained to evaluate or treat hearing loss.
Last year I visited Malawi with UK charity Sound Seekers and saw the devastating effect that deafness has on people’s lives in Africa. Many deaf children are ignored and excluded, unable to attend school because there is just no help or support for them.
When I visited Blantyre, I met Happy who is now 10. After he had Malaria, he couldn’t hear anything. Then Sound Seekers provided him with hearing aids. Now he can hear the teacher and play with his friends. He has finally moved up a year in school. I have seen with my own eyes the difference these hearing aids have made on a young boy’s life.
There are hundreds of thousands of deaf children like Happy all over Africa, who are isolated from their families and communities and have no hope of getting an education. It doesn’t have to be like this. Sound Seekers is training local medical staff to run mobile audiology clinics in six African countries, meaning some of the poorest communities across the continent can finally be reached.
You can help give a child with hearing loss an education and a future. A donation of £5 pays for a hearing test. £10 provides a hearing aid and batteries for a child who desperately needs them. £20 will pay for a sign language lesson for a whole class of deaf children.
You can give right now – online via the Radio 4 website, or by calling 0800 404 8144. That’s 0800 404 8144. Alternatively you can write a cheque to Sound Seekers and send it to Freepost, BBC Radio 4 Appeal. That’s the whole address: Freepost, BBC Radio 4 Appeal. And, very important, please mark the back of your envelope Sound Seekers.