Kopernik Supports Global Foundation's Deaf Education Program in Vietnam

Top Quote The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss' Teacher Training has secured funding from Kopernik for hearing aids and teacher training to benefit over 900 deaf and hard of hearing children in Vietnam. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) October 26, 2010 - The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss is pleased to announce Kopernik's financial support of its multi-year Vietnam Deaf Education Program. Kopernik will help enable the distribution of Solar Ear hearing aids and support the Global Foundation's teacher training and audiology efforts in Vietnam.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 278 million people worldwide are affected by moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss but do not receive the hearing aids and support they need. Two-thirds of these people live in developing countries and most are children.

    The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss and Solar Ear are collaborating to provide hearing aids, professional support, and education for hard of hearing and deaf children in the developing world. There is a need for trained professionals and teachers who can provide follow-up care to help children newly fitted with hearing aids process sounds they are now hearing. However, such professional expertise is not widely available in developing countries. Training programs provided by the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss help fill this gap. With access to hearing technology and on-going professional and educational support, children with hearing loss can cultivate the listening, language, and cognitive skills they need to assimilate more easily into their hearing communities.

    The Global Foundation's Vietnam Deaf Education Program is a multi-year initiative to mentor teachers, professionals, and families in Vietnam about how to help children with hearing loss develop listening and spoken language skills. The program is a partnership between the Global Foundation, Thuan An Center for Disabled Children in Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City University. Over 100 teachers and families from 35 schools for the Deaf in 20 Vietnam provinces are participating in the program. The Global Foundation sends teams of international experts in audiology, speech pathology, early intervention, and deaf education to Vietnam to provide mentorship and training to teachers, families, and professionals. There are three components to the Deaf Education Program: Training workshops held each summer at Thuan An Center; Mobile Missions to visit the participating schools; and Hearing Aid Distribution.

    Kopernik will support the purchase of 60 Solar Ear hearing aids and support training for the Global Foundation's Mobile Mission to Vietnam in January, 2011. A team of audiology, speech pathology, and deaf education professionals will travel to five of the 35 schools participating in the Global Foundation's Deaf Education Program. The purpose of the Mobile Mission is to provide continuing professional development to participants in the Global Foundation's summer training workshops. At each school location, the team will provide lectures and practicum to teachers, consultation support to families, and audiology training. The team will test children's hearing, and fit Solar Ear hearing aids on children who need them but whose families cannot afford them.

    "We are grateful to Kopernik for their support of our efforts to provide innovative solutions to address some of the challenges faced by thousands of deaf and hard of hearing children and their families in the developing world," said Paige Stringer, Founder and Executive Director of The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss. "Our collaboration with Solar Ear will help more children in developing countries access the low-cost, high-quality hearing instruments and the follow-up care they need to reach their full potential."

    "The collective training and hearing aid distribution that the Global Foundation and Solar Ear are offering in tandem is a powerful model that has the potential to benefit many children with hearing loss, not only in Vietnam, but in developing countries around the world." says Ewa Wojkowska, co-founder of Kopernik. "We are very pleased to support The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss and Solar Ear on this important initiative."

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