|Image from Sound Seekers website|
This is pretty huge for me. Actually it's probably one of the biggest things I've ever done.. and I am a huge mixture of mega nerves and stupid excitement. On Sunday I'm off to Zambia to document the work that the wonderful charity Sound Seekers is doing over there.
If you read my blog you might now that Deafness and the Deaf community is quite a big part of my life. I've been learning British Sign Language for the past four years now and before the photography I worked as a Support Worker for Deaf Adults, volunteered for a Deaf and hearing Youth Theatre group and also acted with Deafinitely Theatre, a Deaf led theatre company. Also, completely no connection to me learning BSL whatsoever but my Dad is also Deaf. He was one of the only Deaf professional footballers as he began to lose his hearing at 28 and has worn hearing aids in both ears for as long as I can remember. It's funny.. a real strong memory of growing up is play fighting with him and hearing his hearing aid whistle...
I'm hugely passionate about Deaf issues and looking at the barriers that Deaf people in the UK still face on a day to day basis.. I can't imagine the struggle, or, well the complete lack of any sort of support that Deaf or hard of hearing people often have in developing countries.
This is why the work that Soundseekers is doing is so important. Sound Seekers are a charity who work to improve the lives of Deaf and hearing impaired children and adults in the developing world. They develop and support projects that improve access to education, lessen the impact of hearing loss and raise awareness of Deaf people's abilities and needs.
|Image from Sound Seekers Website|
In Zambia they are currently setting up the HARK! project which will focus on improving audiology
facilities at the main Hospital in Ndola, they will be providing audiology training for several Zambian clinicians and technicians and will also be offering an outreach service providing hearing tests, hearing aids and primary ear care (prevention of ear infections etc) to surrounding communities through the provision of the HARK! vehicle.
I'll be spending four days with the charity out in Ndola.. shadowing the Project manager Emily Bell, meeting the audiologists, seeing the HARK! vehicle in action and taking photos ready to be used on their website and future funding applications. I am so thrilled that after nearly two years of trying to make this trip happen that we are finally doing it.. and I am just completely over the moon that I get to help in some small way. Since I began taking photographs this was always something that I wanted to do.. to give back in some way.. I know this trip is going to be a pretty huge experience for me in so many ways, not only is it a huge personal challenge but also seeing everything first hand.. I have a feeling my heart is going to be overwhelmed with emotion for the people, the country and the work being done....
I'm going to try and blog whilst I'm out there and I'm wanting to make a bit of a video diary too so you'll be able to see exactly what I'm up to.. waaaaah.. can't believe I'm really going! Wish me luck!!