Dr Shalabh Sharma believes children are the future of our country. He loves working for the welfare of children and strongly believes in giving back to society. He supports a program called ‘The Gift Hearing Initiative’. This program aims to provide financial assistance to underprivileged kids with severe to profound hearing loss through the Cochlear Implant procedure.
Dr Sharma is the Chief Cochlear Implant Surgeon and Unit head at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. He has joined hands with a non profit organization called KfK (Kids for Kids) and few like minded people to provide financial support for the surgery and rehabilitation of hearing impaired kids and assist them in their journey into a hearing world.
Not many people are aware that 8 in every 1000 children born in India are hearing impaired. More than half of them are unable to receive any kind of support to help them overcome this disability and continue to lead life in a silent world.
Listening to sound after birth develops the hearing centres in the brain and eventually the child goes on to develop speech and language, learns to read and write, communicate with others, enjoys music, attends school and university. Humans are social beings and not being able to hear and communicate can push them not only into a lonely world but also compromises their life at a social, economic and emotional level.
The only treatment option for severe to profound deafness available worldwide today is the Cochlear Implant procedure. This helps the kids who are born deaf to hear again and develop speech. Most of these kids are absolutely normal with great IQ and intellect but their deafness restricts them from leading a normal life. After the cochlear implant procedure, the kids lead a ‘Hearing’ life, attend mainstream school, are active socially, and become productive members of society. The key to success is also early diagnosis and intervention. If these children are not implanted at an early age they will never hear or comprehend sound, will not develop speech, will go to a special school for deaf and mute kids and be alienated from society. This medical device brings them from a lonely silent world to a musical hearing world.
The cochlear implant is an imported device and its cost is very high which makes this state of the art ‘bionic ear’ beyond the reach of the common man.
‘The Gift hearing’ initiative aims to bring maximum kids with hearing disabilities into the hearing world. It passionately works to connect individuals or companies who are willing to partially or completely sponsor the cost of the cochlear implant, the surgery, accessories, hearing aids, speech therapy or other tests, to the families of hearing impaired children who are on our list. This initiative also works towards spreading awareness about hearing loss amongst communities and care givers and supporting the implanted kids through their childhood and early adult life.
Through this initiative more than 42 children from poor socio-economic backgrounds have received Cochlear Implants. All these kids are now able to hear, have developed speech and are attending mainstream schools.
Many free hearing and screening camps have been organised at the hospital premises and other centres to provide guidance, support and help identify children with hearing loss. These families are ably assisted by our team through their hearing journey.
Many children have received free or subsidised hearing and speech therapy through this initiative with the help of Asha speech and hearing centre in New Delhi.
Educational presentations have been organised at various schools to sensitize the teachers about this issue and spread awareness.
Supported the making of a short movie called ‘Megha : A Song Of Silence’. This movie has helped create awareness about the life transforming medical treatment that is possible to treat deafness and how sky is the limit for implanted kids.
Good practices followed by companies would in turn build a positive image and goodwill in society. Corporations sensitive towards these issues realise that todays kids are the future skilled resources of tomorrow. Companies caring about children and their rights through social and economic means will leave a lasting positive impact on the society and strengthen the connect between society and business.
Our team is highly indebted to the people who have joined hands with us and have come forward to donate for this noble cause. Without their support these kids and their parents would not be living a fulfilling life.
Kids for Kids is a Registered trust functioning since 23 yrs. This NGO comprises of 13 mothers and their children working towards a common goal of making a difference to the lives of less fortunate kids. As the name suggests, they have been our biggest supporters and we have been able to help a lot of kids due to their contribution.
Principal- Sequoia Capital India
Her love for children and the desire to make a difference to the lives of the less fortunate children has made many kids walk into the hearing world with ease. Her commitment to contribute every year towards making deaf children hear again has made so many families smile again.
Director - Sigma industries
A successful businessman and a philanthropic by heart, his decision to partner in The Gift hearing initiative has proved to be a boon for so many kids.
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