Hearing Screening Project

One of the club’s most significant ongoing initiatives is our Rotary Club of Barbados West Ellen Steinbok Hearing Screening Project. The screening project’s goal is to provide accessible hearing healthcare services and support to students. As a result, the project provides free hearing screening tests to selected students in all primary schools across Barbados. The screenings are performed by club members, partners in service and tertiary level student volunteers. From its inception, we made a commitment to cover the costs of any recommended medical treatment. Consequently, we have identified and purchased hearing aids for students identified with unilateral and/or bilateral hearing loss, in order to ensure that they have equal and effective access to basic education.

In November 2020, the project first began as a small pilot at the Good Shepherd Primary School. Approximately 58 children were screened and 1 seven-year-old student was found to have bilateral sensory hearing loss. However, as a result of school closures due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we were only able to screen at the one school. Since we could no longer provide screening services, the decision was then made to support our schools in an alternative way. As such, we collaborated with Erdiston Teachers College and sponsored the training of 20 teachers in a sign language course of study.

In the 2021/22 Rotary program year, members of the club developed an ambitious proposal, seeking approval from the Ministry of Education to expand screening to all Infants B students in primary schools throughout Barbados. We officially launched our island wide screening of Infants B students in March 2022. In the 2023/24 program year, in addition to Infants B students, screening expanded to include Class 4 students island wide.

Through partnerships with financial, business and philanthropic organizations, local healthcare and higher education professionals, we have been able to offer free hearing screenings, hearing aids, and ongoing support to those children who might otherwise face significant barriers in accessing these essential services.

We firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to fully participate in society, regardless of their hearing abilities.

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