May 2016 Kenya
In early May, Starkey Hearing Foundation welcomed a new friend, as former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Tony Blair visited a Starkey hearing mission in Kenya.
Blair’s work with the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) supports African leaders and governments to turn their visions for development into reality – to get from power plans to power plants, or from a line in a speech to a line of children outside their new school.
Given our decades-long history of serving individuals in Africa who have hearing loss and work to address the critical shortage of hearing health care workers in under-development African countries, it was a natural partnership with Blair and his team for a collective impact.
“I do a lot of work in a lot of African countries… This is something that is just direct, it’s immediate, it’s simple, it’s scalable and there are large numbers of people who are benefitting from it,” said Blair of the Foundation’s work in Africa.
Tani Austin, co-founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation and chief philanthropy officer of Starkey Hearing Technologies, escorted Blair around the hearing mission, introducing him to patients as she spoke to him about the vast need for better hearing health care in Africa.
“I’ve just seen the most amazing thing happen, which is the ability to give someone hearing,” Blair said. “For these people this is just a liberation. This is such important work. The Starkey Foundation has managed to do this on a global scale in so many different countries and it’s such a simple clear idea, but it’s got such momentous impact on everybody that it helps.”
Studies demonstrate that hearing devices are associated with impressive improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and economic well-being of people with hearing loss in all hearing loss categories from mild to severe.
“The result of today’s mission inspires a person to achieve their potential. We can profoundly and positively impact their quality of life,” said Austin. “The Foundation's community-based hearing health care model revolves around simplicity, scalability, and sustainability. The model aligns well with Blair’s African Governance Initiative to provide aid to Africa and their model of skills, systems, and structure.”
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