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Solar power hearing aid battery offers hope for deaf in developing world

Page history last edited by Rosemary 9 years, 2 months ago

Solar-power hearing aid battery offers hope for deaf in developing world

A solar-powered hearing aid developed in Botswana holds out hope for deaf people living in developing countries who cannot afford to buy conventional hearing aids and batteries, which often are not available locally in any case. The Solar Aid, which complies with WHO guidelines, needs only six to eight hours of sunlight to recharge for a full week, and can take 400 charges before being replaced. Conventional hearing aids and batteries are very expensive and often not locally available in developing countries.

Godisa Technologies Trust is an ISO certified non-profit social enterprise based in Botswana that seeks to provide a lifetime of hearing to those in need, for very low cost. Godisa, which means “doing something that is helping others to grow” in the Setswana language, was created in May 2002. It was an outgrowth of the Solar Aid Workshop established a decade earlier through the international Camphill movement, in the village of Otse, Botswana. In collaboration with the Botswana Technology Centre, the workshop developed the original and innovative SolarAid, and a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid and accompanying solar-powered battery charger.

Hearing impairment is considered the most prevalent impairment in the world. Almost 600 million people suffer from hearing impairment, and developing countries have a hearing deficiency rate that is more than double that of developed countries.

“I want to help other deaf people to have access to education training and employment. I would like to use my skills and opportunities to help other deaf people achieve their goals,” said one of Godisa’s technicians, Sarah Phiri.

The solar battery can be charged using the sun, household light or an AC/DC adapter, which also makes it suitable for northern climates. It is also an environment-friendly product that can replace millions of disposable hearing aid batteries thrown out each year.

This story was prepared from an article in Development Challenges, South-South Solutions, the December 2007 e-newsletter of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation in UNDP, and information on the Godisa Technologies Trust website, and a story on the Uniterra website. Contact: Godisa Technologies Trust, P.O. Box 142, Otse, Botswana. Email. For Godisa sales in the USA, see here.

 

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