There are an estimated 6 million people with hearing loss in Kenya and only a hand-full of audiologists to care for them. Most children with hearing impairment will never receive appropriate care, leaving them at higher risk for extreme poverty, abuse and being shunned from their communities.
Many people in Kenya are working to improve the lives of these children. The Kenya Society for the Deaf has incredible programs to providing testing and hearing aids to those who need it. It provides training for teachers and parents in communication skills and sign language. It is working very hard and using its limited resources wisely and in a way that is making a difference. Many humanitarian aid organizations are also doing a lot of good work among those with hearing loss in Kenya. (Some are not, but that’s another
rant topic for another post.) But, like many things in Africa, there is still a big gap between the need and resources to meet the need.
I want to be a part of bridging that gap. Where do I start when the chasm feels enormous?
As I have been working with others to think this through, 3 focus areas have made themselves clear:
1) Training – The bottom line is this: East Africa needs more audiologists…a lot more. For this reason my primary professional focus will be training. I will partner with CLASP International to begin a masters level training program at a university in Nairobi. In addition, we will begin an audiology assistant training program for support staff at clinics around the country. Curriculum development is well underway and we have already had a lot of interest shown in our programs.
2) Patient care – I think I would go crazy if I did not get to see patients in the clinic, so this will remain an important part of my life. However, I intend to have students and trainees with me most of the time. This also means that as I am able to work myself out of a job in the clinic at the hospital, I will be available to do more community outreach. I am excited to see the places where I will get to have ministry through this.
3) Discipleship – This is like an umbrella covering the other two pieces. As I interact with patients, families, co-workers, students and teachers, I will always seek ways to display and share the love of Christ with them. This is the driving force behind all of what I will be doing in Kenya.
I am sure that all of these will look a lot different than I think they will, but these are the things I am preparing for and praying for the Lord to make a way for them to happen.
There is one more post in this series – the why behind all of this. I will post a video to tell you a little more about that next week.