The gift of hearing
- By Richard Branson -
- Mar 02, 2013
A lot of the time with philanthropy, you aren't lucky enough to see the direct effect of the giving. So we are very fortunate to be here at the Bhubezi Community Healthcare Centre in South Africa helping to give people their hearing back.
Getting involved in this work with the Starkey Hearing Foundation is one of the most satisfying experiences that any of us have ever had. Once a year The Starkey Foundation comes to this Virgin Unite-supported centre in Bhubezi and we spend time helping around 300 people who have lost their hearing.
The team let me and my family participate in testing people's hearing and putting hearing aids in. It is just beautiful to watch a mother hearing their baby cry for the first time, or an old person hearing their family speak for the first time. The Starkey Foundation has fitted nearly 1,000,000 hearing aids to people in need globally and is a wonderful example of business as a force for good.
We set up the Centre eight years ago to supply help for sufferers of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS after one of our waiters sent us a poem the week he died of AIDS saying: "AIDS is not a disease, it is a war that is on Africa."
Later this year we have got teams coming to our clinic to help people who have lost their eyesight. In the past Virgin has supported ORBIS International and my family and I had the incredible experience of joining them in seeing people being given their sight for the first time. It is truly a gift to see people being given a new lease of life.
Image(s) by Jack Brockway
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group