(Music) My name is Paige Stringer. I am the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss. I started this organization in 2009 to help young children with hearing loss living around the world have the access to the support that they need at early ages so that they can become successful in their hearing communities. I was born with a profound hearing loss but I was fortunate to have the early support and early identification in order to learn to listen and speak. So my passion and the organization’s mission is to help other children around the world have those same opportunities for success — no matter where in the world they live. The biggest issue, I would say, is giving children access to amplification earlier. So, striving to get children’s implant age much younger, much closer to twelve months of age, as well as hearing aids. That would be the number one thing. There are many children with hearing loss living around the world and their families want to do everything they can to help these kids. Professionals are hungry to have the knowledge and expertise to serve the families. That’s what we are able to provide – it’s that education and training. But because the need is so great, we can’t always get funding and resources to serve all the needs. Which is why its so important to emphasize that the people we train are in a position to train other people in the country so that the benefits are exponential and sustainable. This is going to be a collaboration between the professionals who are here in Ecuador working and the government and trying to educate the parents and government to be aware of the challenges that children with hearing loss have and that they need access to adequate equipment and that everything is functioning correctly. That’s the only way they’ll learn to develop listening and spoken language. Well, I think one of the most important things to do to support, mentor and coach, is to try to build a relationship. So building relationships with people and being positive and sharing with them the things that they are doing very well so that they can kind of grow from whatever place they are and feel successful moving forward. Its the education of professionals so they can reach out to the authorities and try to connect with other professionals to try to be the links between the two centers: people who are doing the diagnosis and and the people who are doing the follow-up and rehab. I think as professionals we have the responsibility to take this farther because we are the ones who know how hearing loss impacts a child’s development. I appreciated the engagement that the participants had not only in their patients but in the work they did and watching them come together as a team and leaning on each other for help and for solidarity in the work they do. I always take back when I travel a sense of gratitude and I also take back – I always just learn something from the participants that are here. It helps because it always strengthens my knowledge that I already have but it also reminds me of the holes we have in our own systems back at home and how communication is so important. It’s important because children with hearing loss really have the ability to learn to listen and talk like their peers with typical hearing and do anything they want to in the world. But to do that they have to have access to technology and appropriate therapy services. So it is important to try and support places that are wanting to do that for children. I think my favorite memory is of our last patient that we’re about to see. She has profound bilateral hearing loss. Looking at her audiogram you think, oh, she’s not going to be able to respond to anything. She’s really surprised me in that she’s only detecting the sounds, but she is detecting sounds. So it’s been very rewarding to see that reaction, to see the happiness that Mom has shown when she sees that reaction from her. I think the thing I enjoy the most about the Foundation and the work we do is seeing the impact on the children.