A little girl with the most piercing blue eyes has started a meaningful conversation; now we get to see the start of her incredible journey!
Pretoria, South Africa – Florence Ziniel and her daughter Chogtaa are from Ghana. Chogtaa was born with a rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome which means that she has ice blue eyes but is also deaf.
Waardenburg syndrome is a rare genetic disorder most often characterised by varying degrees of deafness, minor defects in structures arising from the neural crest, and pigmentation changes. It was first described in 1951.
Florence worked hard to raise funds, despite all the misinformation and fear-mongering they faced, to get her daughter a cochlear implant, in the hopes that helping her hear, would help get her ahead in life. Florence and Chogtaa were assisted by the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa.
The foundation is a non-profit that works to help children in South Africa and internationally. They launched their first project, Eduplex.
After hearing Chogtaa’s story, Eduplex immediately offered her a fully-funded place in their school where she will learn to speak. The first video they shared spoke of Chogtaa and Florence’s journey to South Africa, now they have shared an update showing Chogtaa’s first time hearing.
They joined forces with “The Oakes Collective” to create a video to tell her story, and change the idea behind “the girl with blue eyes”.
Take a look at the life-changing moment below. PS: Grab a few tissues because we cried like babies watching this!
It is now more critical than ever that Chogtaa gets a chance to learn at a school that is catered to her needs.
The school is appealing to anyone for help as now that Chogtaa is ready to start learning, being in a critical stage of her life, they need to get Florence settled into South Africa. She needs help with obtaining the correct visa to live here while Chogtaa gets the much-needed education she deserves.
If you can offer any assistance, you can contact Erika Basson via email or call them on +27 (0) 12 333 3130.
The implanted device will be switched on for the first time on 15 March allowing the toddler to hear sound for the first time.
The cochlear operation on a two-year-old Ghanian girl at the Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital in Muckleneuk was successful.
Chogtaa Dumeh from northern Ghana was born with a rare condition, Waardenburg syndrome type two, which was also the cause of profound hearing loss in both her ears.
Waardenburg syndrome is also characterised by varying degrees of depigmentation of the eyes.
The operation was done in South Africa because it was is not available in her country.
She was due to have her bandages removed on Monday.
The head of the cochlear implant division of the Ear Institute in Pretoria Dr. Catherine van Dijk described the procedure as a success, adding she had received a good reading in theatre.
After the operation Chogtaa’s mother, Florence Ziniel said she was very relieved that the operation was such a huge success.
“I am extremely grateful for all the support we have received so far to have made this miracle operation possible,” she said.
She said she was very positive about a future in South Africa that would provide her little girl with the best opportunities concerning her circumstances.
The implanted device will be switched on for the first time on 15 March allowing the toddler to hear sound for the first time.
An intensive rehabilitation process of a minimum of six to nine months would follow, consisting of speech and language therapy as well as regular programming of the device as her brain adapts to sound.
The operation was made possible by the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in SA who raised funds – and received donations from generous individual donors as well as Studex South Africa, community chest of the Western Cape and Isa Gold.
Other sponsors were: Afi Antonio and her foundation in Ghana received donations from donors across Africa; St Raphael Catholic Church Lashibi in Ghana; and Doctors and Hospital Discounts (Zuid Afrikaans Hospital).
Erika Basson manager of the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss would assist Chogtaa and her mother to get permanent residence in South Africa in order for Chogtaa to receive the best audiological management for a better future with her cochlear implant.
“We are also aiming to start raising funds for Chogtaa’s second implant – the goal is to receive the second implant early in 2020,” she said.
Basson said a bursary placement has been secured for Chogtaa at a mainstream school in Pretoria, the Eduplex, which catered for deaf children with assistive devices.
Chogtaa will receive quality mainstream education including the required speech and language therapy, audiology management, as well as parent guidance for her mother as long as she attended this school.
The Ear Institute in Pretoria promised to assist Chogtaa with future repairs on her cochlear implant device when needed, including the programming of her device on a regular basis.
Cochlear implant at Club Surgical Centre brings hope and hearing to nine-year-old
Mulweli Makhuvha is living in a world of silence. Suffering from cochlear dysfunction, the nine-year-old hears very little, even with his hearing aids – not his mother’s voice, nor the bark of a pet or a single note of music.
Advanced ear surgery at a day hospital
But all this is about to change. Young Mulweli is due to be the first recipient of a cochlear implant performed in a daycare hospital in Pretoria, courtesy of pioneering ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Jannet Izeboud, at Club Surgical Centre in Hazelwood, Pretoria. Says Izeboud, “Medical technology has advanced exponentially since the first cochlear implant was performed. In fact, cochlear implants have become a reasonably straightforward procedure. It is these strides that have enabled us to where we are today: quite literally making history.”
From the word go, says Izeboud, she and her team were confident that they could successfully complete the procedure. “It was our vision to accomplish this life-changing surgery for Mulweli at a substantially reduced fee and with a minimum of trauma for a child of such tender years,” she explains.
Generosity to a tee
Even given this concession, the operation would have amounted to R95 000, as well as a R10 000 hospital co-payment – an amount the Makhuvas could ill afford but for an outstanding charity, an incredible event and a gathering of great givers. Last week, Forever Resorts SA held their annual golf day at Blue Valley Golf and Country Club in Midrand, with the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in South Africa as their charity beneficiary for the year. The event entailed, amongst other things, an auction and a variety of sponsorships, all of which yielded sufficient funds to cover three cochlear implants for children, one of which is Mulweli.
Mulweli’s mother was and remains overjoyed at the prospect. “We are so grateful that Mulweli will soon be able to hear my voice, listen to the joyous sounds of our church choir and even such everyday sounds such as hooters,” she says. “This is a miracle for our family and words cannot express how blessed we feel.”
Beacon of hope for the future
“Mulweli may be the first cochlear implant patient in our daycare facilities, but he will most certainly not be our last,” concludes Club Surgical founding member and esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr. Japie de Wet. “It has always been our ethos that Club Surgical would become a beacon of hope and light for the many patients that are yet to enter its doors.”
On Thursday, 15 November, Forever Resorts South Africa hosted their annual Charity Golf Day, this year in aid of the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in SA at Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate.
The Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss, creating a sustainable future for people with hearing loss, inspire, educate, develop and empower an entire community, create fresh perspectives and innovative solutions, promote social welfare, encourage poverty alleviation and generate a lasting change.
Annual Charity Golf Day in aid of the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in SA Loss in SA https://www.facebook.com/FCHLSA/posts/2288133991432930
The Forever Golf Day raised a total of R189 093.01 and the funds were paid over directly to the foundation to help three children (Haley Smit, 4, Ronisha Malander, 4, and Mulweli Makhuva, 9) to pay for their cochlear implants.
Mulweli underwent his operation on Monday, 19 November 2018 and will now be going through the process of slowly training his brain to hear again as he lost his hearing due to illness some years ago.
We would like to thank Forever Forever Resorts South Africa, the Golfers, and all the wonderful sponsors who participated in this successful Golf Day, supporting the cause and making such a huge difference in the lives of children with hearing loss. Without you, your passion and your selfless generosity this would not have been possible. Oranje Drukkers, Bravo Group Sealy, Backgat Braai, Adams&Adams, Pam Golding Nelspruit, Beeld, Birchwood Hotel, Unlimited Events Group, Forever Warmbaths, Forever Badplaas, Forever Gariep, Forever Centurion, Forever Loskopdam, Forever White River, BDT Accountants, AirlinkVictoria Falls Rainbow Hotel, Wild Horizons Tours, The Good Oaks, Pentagon Security Consultants, FNB, Valorem, Agri SA, Rockwood Theatre, Delheim Wines, Levati Water, Rhino Clothing, Work Front, Dairymaid, Pretoria FM, Decimal Agency and Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
Listen to our Pretoria FM interview with Forever Resorts South Africa for their annual golf day, held on November 15, 2018, for the benefit of the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss.
The Adventures of Bionic Buddy Coloring Book
Teach Children about the Journey to Hearing with Cochlear Implants
The Adventures of Bionic Buddy, is a fun Children’s Story and Coloring Book. Download the FREE Printable Coloring Book here! Bionic Buddy Coloring Book!
Staefa, Switzerland, April 9, 2018
The Hear the World Foundation, a Swiss charitable foundation that supports people in need, and particularly children, with hearing loss, is thrilled to welcome Bruce Springsteen among its ambassadors. The new ambassador for conscious hearing supports the non-profit’s hearing loss prevention campaign.
Bruce Springsteen’s recording career spans over 40 years, he has released 18 studio albums, garnered 20 Grammys, won an Oscar, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a Kennedy Center Honor, and was MusiCares’ 2013 Person of the Year. Springsteen’s memoir ‘Born to Run’ and its companion album ‘Chapter and Verse’ were released in September 2016, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November that year. Springsteen’s The River Tour 2016 was named the year’s top global tour by both Billboard and Pollstar. In October, Springsteen made his Broadway debut with ‘Springsteen on Broadway,’ a solo show currently running at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
Photographer and musician Bryan Adams, an ambassador of the Foundation since its establishment in 2006, took Bruce Springsteen’s official ambassador portrait in the Hear the World pose with one hand behind an ear – synonymous with conscious hearing. The meaningful black-and-white photograph will unite Bruce Springsteen with over hundred other musicians, models and actors who have supported the Hear the World Foundation over the past ten years. The team of renowned ambassadors help to raise global awareness about the importance of good hearing.
Hear the World helps children in need hear
Since 2006 the Hear the World Foundation, the cornerstone of Sonova’s CSR engagement – Sonova is the leading provider of hearing solutions, has supported over 80 projects on all five continents, providing financial resources, donating hearing solutions, and training project workers in audiology on site. Efforts such as awareness campaigns, charity events and the sale of the Hear the World calendar, featuring the celebrity ambassadors help to raise global awareness about hearing health and supports children in need with hearing loss enabling them to develop at an appropriate rate for their age. More about the history of the Hear the Word Foundations and its projects can be found here.
Hearing loss – an underestimated issue with serious consequences
The significance of hearing loss is still underestimated, despite the figures painting a clear picture: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 466 million people (around 5% of the global population) are affected by moderate to profound hearing loss – around 34 million of whom are children. Most of those affected live in low- or middle-income countries and do not have any access to audiological care. Untreated hearing loss can have serious consequences, particularly for children. As well as difficulty learning to talk, they have hardly any chance of going to school and are often ostracized from society.
Hear the World Foundation – a Sonova Group initiative
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