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Hearing aids for genocide survivors

Hear Well Be Well’s International Gift of Hearing provides 300 hearing aids

Demonstrating and donating hearing aids to Rwanda

Used or previously owned hearing aids can’t be sold or even given away in Ontario. Many of them end up in the landfill.  Most can be refurbished and local hearing clinic, Hear Well Be Well, has kept some used hearing aids from hitting the landfill.

This year, 300 hearing aids, sanitized and refurbished, made their way to those in need in Rwanda accompanied by mentoring and training from Hear Well Be Well staff.

Co-CEOs, John and Kathleen Tiede, have had a relationship with the medical community in Rwanda for many years. They’ve made numerous trips to Kigali, Rusheshe and Hope Village to deliver and dispense hearing aids to survivors of the genocide. This year, they took along four staff members.

“Going to Rwanda for the fifth time was as rewarding as the first time I went in 2010,” said Kathleen Tiede. “The orphaned genocide survivors we work with are resilient, grateful, hopeful and creative. While some are experiencing prosperity in their lives, some still need help.”

Beltone Canada provided 300 previously owned hearing aids for Hear Well Be Well to distribute in Rwanda. Field Manager Nancy Robinson and Hearing Instrument Specialist Jotham Pratt joined John Tiede, also a Hearing Instrument Specialist, working with medical personnel on site at CHUK Hospital.

“I felt very privileged to be part of the team attending the hospital and seeing patients directly alongside nursing and ENT staff,” stated Robinson, who lives in Shelburne, ON. “It was incredible that we were able to offer this kind of healthcare to patients in need. There’s very little access to hearing aids there.”

In addition to hearing testing and fitting hearing aids, Robinson, Pratt and Mr. Tiede trained hospital staff to do these activities and use software that facilitates properly programmed and fitted hearing aids.

“I was honoured to share this heart-warming experience with Nancy and Jotham,” mentioned Mr. Tiede. “Having members of Hear Well Be Well help in dispensing the hearing aids made a huge difference in the number of people we could help each day.” 

In addition to the hearing aids, Mrs. Tiede and two other members of Hear Well Be Well took funding and products to increase the prosperity of the communities.

“From generous donations from Canadians, we were able to take $14,000 which translated into 13 million RFW,” explained Mrs. Tiede. “This funding was deposited into a micro-financing bank to support small and new businesses.”

Along with Mrs. Tiede, Leanne Williams of Shelburne, ON and Christine Rozenberg, a Client Care Representative from the Bolton clinic, spent time with the residents of Rusheshe and Hope Village delivering donated clothing, hygiene products and school supplies collected in Canada.

“It was an amazing experience to visit Rwanda, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills,’” said Williams, a Field Manager with Hear Well Be Well. “It was a beautiful place to visit, so lush and green, clean and I felt very safe. The people of Rwanda are very open and friendly.”

Hear Well Be Well has 14 locations in Ontario and has been serving rural, small and mid-sized communities for 40 years.