The Ministry of Education and Sports under it’s special program Uganda Teachers and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) in partnership with Starkey Hearing Foundation has today launched a Hearing Aids Program aimed at providing special hearing Aids to over 7000 Ugandans with hearing impairment.
The program which will last for 2 years and is estimated at a cost of $1m is expected to help the beneficiaries who are mainly school going children to improve their listening and communication abilities which will in the end improve their learning abilities in schools.
Speaking today at the official launch that took place at Cricket Oval Entebbe, the state Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Senidde who represented the First Lady and Minister for Education Janet Museveni asked parents to support the children with other needs so that they are able to attend school and go through life like all the other normal children.
“It is the Government’s and the NRM party’s priority to provide access to quality education for all. We have been carrying out a lot of programs for our disabled children. These hearing aids will go a long way in helping these children enjoy their freedom and rights that are provided for under the Ugandan constitution,” Seninde said.
She further applauded Starkey Hearing Foundation and UNICEF for their support in helping the Ugandan children as this will be a life changing experience for them.
“Some of these children are getting to hear for the first time in their entire life. This is going to change their lives. It will also double their effort in their contribution to the development of this country,” she said.
Bill Austin, the President of Starkey Hearing Foundation that is providing the hearing Aids and a life time Batteries free of charge while giving his remarks noted that his organization was proud to be giving a life changing assistance to these children and adults with a hearing problem and hoped the hearing Aids will help in improving their status of living.
“Everyone is special and unique. As we live in this life, we should always do something to help people around us to reach their full heights. We do not want to leave these children behind because they have the minds to change this world if given a chance,” Bill said.
According to Muhammad Kyesirikidde, the Country Coordinator StarKey Foundation Uganda, the program will run in phases and will reach to other parts of the country.
“Only today, we are assessing and fixing hearing Aids to 800 patients. Any other Ugandan who wants to benefit from this project can register with our officers at Kyambogo University every last Friday of each month. We will be able to contact and consider them first once there is a camp near their areas,” Kyesirikidde said.
According to officials from Education Ministry, this Program is part of the bigger UTSEP that is funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a global consortium working to provide quality education to children in the world.
Through GPE, Uganda under UTSEP received a $100m grant which has been used to build over 138 schools in 31 districts.
Over 10000 primary school teachers have been trained on Early Grade Reading Program, 4000 childcare Givers trained and piloted electronic inspection in 1000 schools.