Media - Sonova News Room
We are helping to improve the quality of people’s lives
Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation has been working for disadvantaged people with hearing loss for more than ten years. The Foundation has already provided support for more than 80 projects in 39 countries, helping thousands of people to improve their hearing. Sonova’s employees play an essential part in the Foundation’s work.
Jennifer Hofmann’s journey to Malawi in Southeastern Africa will live long in her memory: “This volunteer work has shown me that Sonova’s vision of creating a world in which everyone is able to hear and thus lead a life without restrictions is not just empty words – as a company, we are helping to improve the quality of people’s lives.” Jennifer was to experience this directly when she had the chance to accompany three audiologists to a village in the country. “When we arrived, the first children were already running towards us,” recalls Jennifer, who works in Sonova’s human resources department. “It was lovely to see how thrilled they all were with their new hearing aids.”
Jennifer traveled to Blantyre in Malawi in February 2017 as a volunteer for the Hear the World Foundation to work at a clinic for audiological testing and rehabilitation. Her objectives there were to train the new clinic manager in a range of computer programs, to answer any questions she might have on the clinic’s work (e.g. accounting) and to improve work processes. Jennifer also gave her colleague a few tips on how to motivate her staff.
Volunteer work is an important pillar of the Foundation’s work
Jennifer’s work is an example of the kind of commitment Sonova staff have exhibited all over the world since 2013. In addition to the financial and technological support provided for projects, the staff’s active volunteer work is an important pillar of the Hear the World Foundation’s work. Any Sonova employee can take part in supporting the Hear the World Foundation, whatever their particular professional skills or position in the company. Staff help can take all kinds of forms, including unpaid work for projects all round the globe and various fundraising drives; every little helps and is appreciated. Three employees at a time can also sign up as staff representatives on the Foundation’s advisory board for a period of two years and thus lend a hand in shaping the Foundation’s work.
Staff put on numerous events and projects right across the globe to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Hear the World Foundation in December 2016, collecting donations of more than CHF 10,000 for the organization with cake sales and darts tournaments, for example, as well as getting involved with a major social media campaign: in addition to pictures and congratulations, countless members of the company’s more than 14,000 staff posted their selfies in the “Hear the World pose” for conscious hearing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram with the hashtag #weareheartheworld.
10,000 working hours all round the world
The Hear the World Foundation can look back on an unbroken line of support from Sonova employees that leads right up to this anniversary: since the first volunteer project in 2013, over a thousand members of staff have donated more than 10,000 working hours for a range of local projects and fundraising collections. Some have been supporting the same schemes over years and have acquired extensive knowledge of local conditions. Jennifer Hofmann will be staying in touch with the clinic manager in Malawi to help her out with advice if she has any questions or problems.
“I spent time on site in Haiti with other colleagues“, reports Brandy Heckroodt, a clinical trainer at Sonova for Phonak Lyric. “We were able to bring our experience as audiologists to bear in support of our shared goal there.” Brandy is one of six volunteers who visited Leveque in Haiti to test the hearing of more than 30 adults and children and repair hearing aids. Their aid work also gave the team an opportunity to get to know a whole host of young people at the “Haiti Deaf Children’s Home” and discover at first hand what life is like for Haitian kids coming to terms with hearing loss. “Audiologists working in crisis-hit countries have to improvise constantly,” attests Marisa Breslin from Phonak USA. “Our Hear the World Foundation provides a unique opportunity for each and every one of us to have a positive impact on the lives of people with hearing loss and help accelerate the development of a program for better hearing, even in a country suffering great hardship.”