WHO WE ARE
There are plenty of organizations that support and advocate for medical and educational programs in the minority world. However, hardly any of them focus on improving the quality and accessibility of health care services related to communication disorders in the majority world.
Hear2Speak is a 100% volunteer-run, non-profit, grassroots organization that was formed to address this need. It focuses on both professional development and client-centered services for underserved people with communication difficulties in both the minority and majority world contexts.
In the past, we have collaborated with Victor Musowa, a clinician, to set up a Hearing Aid Mould-Making Centre at the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, the first of its kind in Malawi. Below is a picture of Victor, creating a hearing aid ear mold for a woman at the centre.
Like those in Malawi, Sri Lanka is also an area with an underserved population. In South Asia, 38 000 children are born with a hearing loss every year. As of 2016, there are 21.2 million people in Sri Lanka; 9% of that population (~1.9 million people!) experience a hearing impairment, 9% of children (414 000 between the ages of 2 and 5) experience communication difficulties. Even so, there are currently no speech-language pathologists working in their schools. Generally speaking, the services provided are simply not adequate to the needs of this population.
One of the few service providers is at the University of Kelaniya, a state university just outside of Colombo. The university has an in-house clinic offering free hearing, speech and language services to low income families. The purpose of the clinic is two-fold, it enhances the clinical experience of undergraduate speech-language pathology and audiology students while being supervised by trained and certified clinicians, and offering services to local families who would not be able to otherwise afford it, as seen below.
However, since the clinic is offering free services, resources are limited. Limited funding poses a barrier for the clinic to provide an enriching experience for student clinicians and comprehensive assessments to clients. To support this initiative, the University of Kelaniya and Hear2Speak are collaborating to raise funds for audiology equipment and speech and language resources. It is our hope that these resources will increase the quality of services offered at this clinic and improve students’ training which will contribute to clinical excellence in future practice.
We envision a world where everyone has access to the best speech and hearing health care services and this can only be achieved with everyone's support. So far we have achieved one-third of our goal of $2000 and we need YOUR help to make this happen.
Let's raise our voices and Speak with Sri Lanka!
For more information on Hear2Speak and the clinics at University of Kelaniya, please check out the links below:
Audiology at the University of Kelaniya
Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Kelaniya
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