Urban Sky Trust

Implant Could Change Young Girls Life

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A profoundly deaf young girl with dreams of becoming a teacher will lose all hope of getting an education if she does not get a cochlear implant. Savannah Moodley (14) was diagnosed partially deaf at the age of five, probably due to a bout of meningitis and her hearing has deteriorated to such an extent that she is now profoundly deaf.

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Savannah was nearly 8 years old when she started her schooling at the Greenwood Primary School's Partially Hearing (PH) unit. According to Janet Marneweck, founder of the Urban Sky Foundation which aims to assist partially hearing children, Savannah is hungry for knowledge and eager to learn.

Her hearing loss has however caused her to become frustrated because she no longer understands her peers or the education she is receiving. ''She battles to comprehend stories and answer questions. She does her homework diligently but as she cannot hear all the sounds she is unable to write the words down correctly when she is tested,'' says Janet.

''She is making slow progress due to her severe language delay and profound hearing loss. She is performing poorly in all her learning areas at school, which affects her self-image and causes problems in all areas of her life. She is a warm, kind and sensitive young girl with dreams of one day becoming a teacher.''

According to Janet there is no educational institution locally who can accommodate Savannah. ''There is no universal signing school for deaf children in Port Elizabeth. Her only option is to go to a school in Cape Town, but because she does not have any family there, she will not be accepted,'' says Janet. ''Savannah desperately needs a cochlear implant as soon as possible but financially her parents cannot afford it and they do not have medical aid. The operation costs approximately R250`000''.  According to Janet, the implant is a lengthy process and the initial MRT scan costs in the region of R15`000. This must be done before they can begin to assess the extent of the damage to the nerve.

After she has the operation she will hopefully be accepted at a school in Cape Town that will be able to teach her and ready her for life as an adult to her full potential. ''If she does not receive the operation her life comes to an end as she has nowhere suitable to go to. The cochlear implant will change her life dramatically and enable her to be successful at whatever she puts her mind to,'' says Janet.

Two local authors which featured in Port Elizabeth Express last year with their book Starting Out, Rose Ogden and Linda Muller, have heard of Savannah's plight and have donated  books to the Urban Sky Foundation to raise funds for the implant.

Rose Ogden and Linda Muller are two local moms who got the inspiration for the book when their children left home. For both it is the first time that they have tried their hand at being author. The book is an easy-to-use guideline for home-leavers, containing basic information from nutrition, cleaning, cooking, first aid to easy mouth-watering recipes.

To help Savannah in her cause, phone Janet at 083`607`5151. More about the Urban Sky Foudation and Greenwood (in separate block next to article) Janet Marneweck is currently in the process of registering the Urban Sky Foundation. Being the mother of a son who is partially hearing, she has realised that there is a great need to assist the partially hearing in the Eastern Cape with their medical needs as well as other requirements.

One of the aims of the foundation is to inform parents about testing their child's hearing as early as possible, preferably at birth, to prepare and enable partially hearing children to attend mainstream schooling and develop to their full potential. She is working closely with the Greenwood Primary School's Partially Hearing Unit, the only facility of its kind in the Eastern Cape.

The unit's classes serve hearing-impaired pupils from Grade 1 to 7 as well as special class learners who would be unable to cope with the demands in the mainstream of education due to their attendant speech, language and educational problems caused by a hearing loss. Their goal is to attend to the hearing-impaired learner's special educational needs in small, specially equipped and accoustically designed classes. It is envisaged that these learners be reintegrated into the mainstream of education as soon as they have been habilitated to cope with their hearing-impairment as well as the demands of the normal school syllabus.

Implant Could Change Young Girls Life
By: PE Express - 10 May 2006