Children are our future and the future of our country. All children, including those who are born or acquire disabling hearing loss must be given a voice, according to the Carel du Toit Trust.
The Carel du Toit Trust is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation established in 1988 that works to realize its vision of a world where children who are deaf have universal access to early identification, appropriate hearing technology, audiological support, therapeutic services and ultimately functional spoken language.
According to Dr Diane Bell, director of the Carel du Toit Trust, “’Voice’ allows for the ability to engage in meaningful conversation and centres on inclusivity, understanding and accessibility (Lederach, 2005). Voices are unique, revealing and central to one’s ability to lead change in their own lives and the world. Those whose voices are most often silenced include persons/ children with disabilities such as hearing impairment. Voice is a critical aspect of effective and healthy communication, and World Voice Day brings global awareness to the enormous importance of the voice in the daily lives of all people.”
She added, “The way that humans perceive their world is mediated through sensory experience and expressed through voice. Of all the senses, hearing fundamentally facilitates communication and fosters social interaction, allowing people to forge relationships, participate in daily activities, learn, grow and develop as human beings – much of this being done through the use of ‘voice’ via spoken language.”
She explained that two of the fundamental rights of all children, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised of all, namely children who are hearing-impaired, is the right to equality and the right to freedom of speech (expression).
“Today, as we celebrate World Voice Day (16 April 2018), the Carel du Toit Trust and Centre calls upon the South African Government and all parts of society to work to”:
• Ensure that all children who are hearing-impaired are given a voice through ensuring that they have access to the required hearing technology, rehabilitation services and communication tools and products, as well as education that they require to live a healthy, happy and productive life.
• Ensure that all children who are hearing-impaired enjoy the right to equality, especially freedom from discrimination.
• Ensure that all children who are hearing-impaired enjoy the right to freedom of expression – having the requisite spoken language to receive and/ or impart information or ideas.
For more information or to donate to this life-changing organisation, visit their website http://www.careldutoit.co.za.
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