How Malala Fund and Cochlear Foundation made their own connection

An exciting partnership seeks to remove barriers to education for children and young people with hearing loss

Header image courtesy of Malala Fund, Tess Thomas

Malala Fund and Cochlear Foundation have partnered to raise awareness and help remove the barriers keeping millions of children and young people with hearing loss from accessing a quality education worldwide.

Malala Fund is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead, and Cochlear Foundation is a hearing health not-for-profit that was established in 2005 to help more people hear.

To date, Cochlear Foundation has helped to fund more than 120 projects across the world, supporting thousands of children and adults with hearing loss, along with hearing health professionals who are dedicated to helping them hear.

This is their first global partnership and we’re bursting with excitement to give you the inside story behind the collaboration, why it’s so important and what you can do to help.

Photo credit: Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund

Shared goals
The partnership is the culmination of the two organisations’ desire for young people to access a quality education and have the opportunity to realise their full potential.

“Malala Fund and Cochlear Foundation are connected through the desire to raise awareness of the need to remove one of the critical barriers to education – untreated hearing loss,” says Julie Ligeti, Director of Global Public Advocacy for Cochlear.

An event in Sydney started the ball rolling
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist, UN Messenger of Peace and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As co-founder of Malala Fund she is building a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.

In late 2018, Cochlear’s CEO and President Dig Howitt hosted ten young cochlear implant recipients at a public event in Australia where Malala was a guest speaker, where they and their parents got to hear Malala speak and meet her backstage.

After that initial meeting in Sydney, Julie and the team formed a connection with the Malala Fund, with the view of forming a lasting partnership to promote the goal of removing hearing loss as a barrier to education.

“Malala is incredibly influential in advocating for girls’ rights to education and equality in society and we’re so grateful she has added her voice to the hearing health cause.”

The impact of the collaboration
If children with hearing loss do not receive hearing healthcare and support in a timely manner, they often experience lower school performance, higher risk of dropping out of school, and less likelihood of accessing higher education. Ultimately, this can impact their lifelong career prospects.1

Cochlear Volunteer, Aline, personally understands the need for early detection and access to hearing healthcare and support. Her daughter Luma, aged 10, has a cochlear implant and attends mainstream school.

In their homeland of Brazil, 1.5 million girls are currently out of school.Luma cherishes her education and ability to communicate. “The cochlear implant opened the door to my hearing and facilitated my learning process with everyone,” Luma says.

Luma, 10, is thriving at mainstream school

What’s to come?
Over the three year partnership, Cochlear Foundation and Cochlear will appeal to parents to support children and young people with hearing loss to gain early access to hearing healthcare and support. Such support is important to ensure they can complete their education and realise their full potential. They’ll work with the hearing health community to collectively raise awareness of the needs of the 34 million children with disabling hearing loss worldwide.3 They’ll also support a growing call for governments and societies to prioritise hearing healthcare and support.

A message from Malala

“My hope is that all girls can have equal opportunities and that we ensure a world where every girl can have access to free, safe and quality education. Hearing loss doesn’t need to be an obstacle to education.”

Malala Yousafzai

How you can help
Help more people know untreated hearing loss can be a critical barrier to education. As a Cochlear Family member, you bring a powerful voice and can help raise awareness of the needs of millions of children and young people with hearing loss worldwide.

Stories have the power to change the world. The world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate and co-founder of Malala Fund, Malala, and television host, Alana Nichols were among the first people to share their stories. Share this video to highlight the importance of children and young people with hearing loss worldwide having equal rights to an education and early access to hearing healthcare and support:

For more information about the partnership and how you can get involved, visit www.cochlearfoundation.org

About Malala Fund
Malala Fund is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead. Malala Fund advocates for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education, invests in local education leaders and amplifies the voices of girls fighting for change. Learn more at malala.org 

About Cochlear Foundation
Cochlear Foundation is a hearing health not-for-profit, supported by Cochlear. It aims to raise awareness of hearing loss and help more people around the world access life-changing hearing treatment. We envision a world where anyone, anywhere with hearing loss can live a life full of opportunities. To achieve this, we advance research in hearing treatment, encourage the skill development of healthcare professionals, and support community efforts towards inclusivity. www.cochlearfoundation.org

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References 

  1. World Report on Hearing, World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/world-report-on-hearing.
  2. About | Malala Fund [Internet]. Malala.org. 2021 [cited 13 May 2021]. Available from: https://malala.org/about
  3. World Health Organization. Factsheet: deafness and hearing loss. Available here: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss.

    Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

    Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. 

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Disclaimer

Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.