Staefa, Switzerland, November 2, 2011
In May 2011, singer-songwriter Patrick Nuo visited a Hear the World foundation project in Nairobi, Kenya, that aims to give children with hearing loss the chance to lead a normal life. Nuo, who has become a sponsor of the project, was accompanied by the Hamburg-based photographer Philipp Rathmer, who documented the visit. The result is a series of fascinating pictures of the people involved, the work of the foundation and life in Kenya’s capital city. After the ceremonial opening on November 16 in the presence of distinguished guests, CHANCES* will be on display in the Flo Peters Gallery in Hamburg from November 17 to 27 (admission free). Proceeds from the sale of the photographs will go directly to the Hear the World Foundation.
CHANCES* - the exhibition
The centerpiece of the exhibition is the series of photographs entitled 19 Faces, 19 Chances: Philipp Rathmer uses striking black and white portraits to tell the stories of the pupils at the Joymereen School for children with hearing loss in Nairobi. Additional color photography provides intriguing insights into a city of extremes and the work of the Hear the World Foundation. Sound installations and video sequences from Nairobi turn the exhibition into a true multi-sensory experience. Visitors also have the opportunity to take a quick test to check their own hearing. There is no charge for admission – everyone will have the opportunity to decide whether and how much they would like to contribute to the Hear the World Foundation’s Nairobi project.
Where? Flo Peters Gallery, Chilehaus C, Pumpen 8, D-20095 Hamburg
When? November 17-27, 2011, Tue-Fri 10am-6pm / Sat 11am-3pm
Left without a chance by hearing loss
In developing countries such as Kenya, around 2,000 children are born with impaired hearing every day. There is hardly any help available to them. The consequences, however, are serious: the children have difficulty learning to speak and tend to develop more slowly than appropriate for their age group. Children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular, have no prospects of integration because schools will rarely admit them and they receive no support, meaning that they often live isolated lives, ostracized from society.
A future for children in Nairobi
The Hear the World Foundation was set up by the Swiss hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak in 2006 with the aim of helping children reach their developmental milestones and realize their full potential in life regardless of their hearing loss. The Hear the World Foundation has been involved in Nairobi since 2008. Working closely with Lufthansa Cargo, the Hear the World Foundation has set up a hearing center in the Cargo Human Care Medical Center in Nairobi, where Dr. Michaela Fuchs, a German ENT doctor, holds regular free consultations and carries out hearing tests.
The Hear the World Foundation also provides underprivileged children with hearing instruments donated by the Swiss hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak. Beneficiaries of these free instruments, which are prohibitively expensive for large parts of the population, include pupils at the Joymereen School for children with hearing loss as well as children in the Mathare Valley, Nairobi’s second-largest slum. To ensure that the children receive long-term medical and audiological care, the Hear the World Foundation has set up a support group together with local and international partners.
A lesson in humility
Back in May 2011, Patrick Nuo visited all the facilities in and around Nairobi supported by the Hear the World Foundation. This gave him a first-hand insight into the foundation’s work and how the children live. He describes his visit: “I have a lot of pleasant and also emotional memories of Nairobi. It wasn’t easy seeing with my own eyes the conditions in which many people, especially children, have to live. And yet many of the children I met were bursting with amazing strength and a real zest for life in spite of their poverty and hearing loss. I found it a great lesson in humility.”
Alexander Zschokke, Chairman of the Board of the Hear the World Foundation, says, “On behalf of the foundation, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Patrick Nuo and Philipp Rathmer for their committed voluntary support. It is people like these that enable us to achieve our mission – giving needy people with hearing loss a better standard of living. I hope that many people will visit the impressive exhibition and will support our work. This will allow us to continue to provide children in Kenya and in other developing countries with better hearing and thus a better quality of life.”