Arctic Inspiration Prize Winner
Giving back and helping our Inuit neighbors in Canada’s Arctic hear better!\
inspiration prize: http://www.arcticinspirationprize.ca/laureates/2015laureates.php
As an audiologist, I have always been aware of the fact that indigenous children have a higher incidence of hearing loss. I am the vice chair of the Rotary Club of Guelph’s
Indigenous Awareness Committee and I wanted to find a way to help. After speaking with Kim Hurley, the only audiologist in the Baffin Region of Nunavut, I packed my bags and spent a week in Iqaluit in 2015 learning what I could about the hearing needs of the region.
Kim and her colleague Sandra Roberts, an educator, had proposed a project in 2013 to implement classroom amplification systems throughout the region to help children in school hear better. The project never happened due to a lack of funding and infrastructure.
My local Rotarians were eager to take on this project and decided we could make this happen. Ultimately a team of Rotarians, educators and business people was assembled from both the north and the south to form the Better Hearing in Education for Northern Youth (Bheny). The project will see over 150 classroom amplification systems installed throughout the Baffin Region along with training and on-going support to help children with hearing loss in the schools.
Our local Rotary Club kick started the project with a generous $25,000 grant. For additional funding we applied for the Arctic Inspiration Prize and the Hear the World fund. In 2015 we won the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This prize “recognizes and promotes initiatives that gather Arctic knowledge and provide concrete plan and a commitment to implement knowledge into real world application for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic, its Peoples and therefore Canada as a whole.” Out of the many project proposals received from across Canada we
were honored and proud to be the recipient of $300,000! The ceremony was hosted by CBC’s Peter Mansbridge and the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston. It was an event we will never forget. We also were awarded the Hear the World fund for 6 communities – a very generous contribution for this organization made it possible for us to outfit 13 communities in the Baffin region of Nunavut with soundfield systems.
The funding will go a long way to meeting our financial goals for the project. I’m off to Nunavut again in the Spring 2018 to install the last of the soundfields. Follow our progress through our website www.bheny.ca.