About 15 years ago my healthy daughter Sarah
suddenly died in the middle of the night. Going back to work the next week, the company
I worked for me fired me, I was lost. I figured I had the skills as a business person, why
not go and volunteer to Africa and in a way try to give a meaning to my daughter’s death?
According to the WHO, there’s about 600 million people who are hearing impaired, 2/3 of them
living in developing countries. Yet only 12% of hearing aids go to these countries. The
problem with hearing aids is not only the cost of a hearing aid but the price of an accessible
hearing aid battery. Batteries cost about US$1 and last about a week. One of the humming features
in developing countries is that the sun is free. Why not use that energy to recharge
the batteries? So what we did with our workers who are deaf we designed the first rechargeable
hearing aid battery that costs the same as a regular battery but lasts two to three years.
We can make a hearing aid and sell it with a profit for under US$100 and the average
hearing aid in the USA for example is anywhere from US$2,000 to US$6,000 and they’re buying
from the same sources I do. You know, Carl Jung, the great philosopher, once said “you want people
to see their shadow and realise the legacy coming from them” and that’s what I do with
the workers who are deaf around the world. Our project is all about opportunity, about
seeing your own shadow.