Boost for audiology team in Gambia
I recently volunteered for Sound Seekers in The Gambia as part of my NHS Clinical Scientist Training Programme for 6 weeks. I was required to raise £2000 to fund this, which although it seemed daunting at first turned out to be relatively easy thanks to the generosity of my colleagues, friends, patients and family. I raised the money in a few ways including a Just Giving page, selling Christmas cards I designed, having collection boxes in the waiting room at work, talking to a local Rotary club and most importantly asking my friends and family via, phone, email, social media etc. I was also very lucky to receive a grant for £1500 shortly before leaving the country from the Hear the World Foundation meaning that I raised £3500 in total.
I found my time in the Gambia invaluable, as well as being able to make a huge impact in terms of training and improving patient care. I also feel I learnt and developed my own personal skills, particularly in terms of problem solving, developing protocols and improving confidence in my own abilities.
The realities of providing an Audiology service in a developing country with no Audiologists such as The Gambia is markedly different from providing services in the NHS. Having said this by volunteering even a small amount of time such as a couple of weeks I feel volunteers can make a huge difference and provide the local staff with additional knowledge and training. This will then allow them to provide a more efficient and safer service to patients.
I would encourage anybody who is thinking of volunteering for Sound Seekers to get in touch as it will be a truly unique and rewarding experience not just for the staff in their projects but for you personally.