On 9 October the Table View Lions presented Miss Deaf Africa 2012, Elnette Botha from Melkbosstrand, with two new hearing aids for Chilungo Fundala, Miss Deaf Zambia.
These high power Phonak hearing aids with an estimated value of R60,00.00 were a gift from the Table View Lions’ German twin Club Frankenthal and Lion Wolfgang Bennedik, CEO of Phonak Germany. Chilungo, who could not come to South Africa, was highly recommended to Mrs Weitz, project coordinator at the Table View Lions Club, by Mrs Sievertsen of the Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg and convenor of the Miss Deaf Africa Pageants, following a desperate plea for hearing aids from her father. Chilungo, 21 years old, was born deaf but despite the physical challenge has graduated from Kitwe College and does youth work in Zambia.
Elnette Botha, Miss Deaf Africa and her sister Simoné, Miss Deaf South Africa 2012, were born with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and received cochlea implants as toddlers, which facilitated their ability to hear and articulate words. Elnette is an occupational therapist from Stellenbosch University. Simoné, a professional dancer, graduated from the UCT dance school and also studies psychology and physiology part time at Unisa.
The donation forms part of project “Hearing Aids South Africa” which is run by the two Lions Clubs under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry for Families, Children and Disabled, in cooperation with the international hearing aid initiative of the German Lions Foundation, who declared South Africa a focal point due to its outstanding medical standards amongst developing countries. To date they have made available more than 3500 hearing aids. The mostly second-hand devices, accessories and batteries are collected in Europe and donated to approved hospitals, universities, schools and institutions for the deaf, where professional fitting, training in their use and maintenance, post-fitting services and supply of batteries are ensured.
It is estimated that 200.000 deaf underprivileged South African children need hearing aids, the primary socio-demographic target group of the project. Deafness is a progressive disability causing profound damage to the child’s development of speech, language and cognitive skills, often irreversible if not treated at an early age. The vision of “Hearing Aids South Africa” is to enable as many deaf children as possible, and also adults, to fully develop their potential in life and become active members of society.