In my profession as a hearing aid technician, my clients always ask me what can be done with their used hearing aids. There are organisations that collect used glasses, but what about hearing aides?
Through a friend I looked for contacts in Argentina and found the FANDA foundation (www.fundacionfanda.org.ar), which is dedicated to supplying hearing aids to children of low economic means with impaired hearing. In a country like Argentina, where one in four workers is unemployed, there is almost no social support to help these children.
Dr Romano, the director of FANDA, has a hearing institute and invests almost 70% of her time doing voluntary work for the charity. Five other hearing technicians collaborate with her, also as volunteers without payment.
Until now, FANDA relied only on hearing aids donated by the local community. However, because of the difficult economic situation in the country, recently not even middle class argentines have been able to regularly change their hearing aids. In Argentina, not everybody has health insurance, and even for those who do, their insurance often does not provide for a change of hearing aid.
Having decided to help FANDA, I informed the local press, which published articles about my planned action and asked readers to donate hearing aids that were not in use. The resonance of this action was huge. Everyday people arrived at my shop to donate old hearing aids. Enthused by this success, I informed colleagues elsewhere in the business. Straight away they joined the initiative and also published articles in their local newspapers.