People December 9, 2016 | 4:55 pm

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Phonak ambassador supports Hear the World Foundation’s project work

Bundesliga youth team player and brandambassador for Phonak Simon Ollert is paying a visit to the Swiss Hear theWorld Foundation’s partner project in Santo Domingo. The foundation has teamedup with the Centro Cristiano de Servicios Médicos aid organization to invite 20Dominican children with hearing loss to share their experiences before enjoyinga game of football. Their common goal for the event is to help children withhearing loss make progress in their personal development and have theself-confidence to follow their ambitions.

"I’d like to use my story as an exampleto show the children at the aid project in the Dominican Republic just what youcan achieve despite hearing loss, and help boost their self-confidence andstrengthen their belief in their own abilities. It’s a goal that’s reallyimportant to me and one I have already pursued with my first internationalsoccer camp for children with hearing loss, which I organized in cooperationwith Phonak," explains Simon Ollert. He is the only professional soccerplayer with profound hearing loss in the German-speaking countries: the19-year-old has been a member of the youth squad at FC Ingolstadt since thesummer of 2015, the same year they were promoted to the top flight of theGerman Bundesliga.

On December 10, 2016, Simon Ollert will bevisiting a project run by the Centro Cristiano de Servicios Médicos (CCSM) thatthe Hear the World Foundation has been supporting and supplying with hearingaids, audiological equipment and expertise since 2010. The project helps toprovide access to hearing care for Dominican people on low to middle incomes.

The participation of representatives from theSwiss and German embassies has brought the visit some VIP backing – thediplomats are also hoping to find out more about the current progress of theHear the World Foundation’s aid project and lend their support to youth footballin the Dominican Republic.

Encouraging words and shared experiences

The 20 children expected to attend with theirparents can look forward to an exciting schedule of supplementary activitiesand an opportunity to quiz Simon Ollert on his life as a professional soccerplayer: the event will begin with a surprise for the children and a screeningof the award-winning film about Simon’s story.

During the visit, Nicole Hunter-Diaz, theCCSM project leader, will be inviting all the participants to share theirexperiences of hearing and hearing loss, and she will be available to answerany questions parents may have about dealing with hearing loss in children. Asshe explains, "information evenings like this for parents are extremelyimportant for our project work – parents have a considerable influence on thelinguistic development of their children.

Soccer game

The high point of the visit will be a soccertrials training session and a match with Simon Ollert and players from BaugerFC, the local soccer side. The club is supporting the visit as part of itsyouth development program and is looking forward to the children and thecelebrity soccer player getting involved.

"Simon Ollert’s visit gives a real liftto our project work and will promote the exchange of ideas between parents,children, and the aid project. It will also be an opportunity for the childrento work on their self-confidence and learn to trust in their ownabilities," says Sarah Kreienbühl, who is both a board member of the Hearthe World Foundation and a member of the Management Board at Sonova.

Facts about the Dominican Republic

· Unemployment rate: 14.3 percent/highest rate in Latin America, average:7.6 percent

· State spending on the health sector as a % of GDP: 5.6 percent

· Goal shared by the CCSM and the Hear the World Foundation’s project: tosupply 2,000 children with hearing aids within 5 years.

About the Hear the World Foundation

By supporting the charitable Hear the WorldFoundation, Sonova is campaigning for equal opportunities and a better qualityof life for people with hearing loss. As a leading provider of hearing caresolutions, Sonova fosters social responsibility and contributes towards a worldwhere everyone has the chance to enjoy good hearing. For instance, the Hear theWorld Foundation supports disadvantaged people with hearing loss around theworld and gets involved in prevention. It focuses particularly on projects forchildren with hearing loss, to enable them to develop at the appropriate ratefor their age. More than 100 celebrity ambassadors, including celebrities suchas Cindy Crawford, Plácido Domingo, Annie Lennox and Sting champion the Hearthe World Foundation.

About the Centro Cristiano de ServiciosMédicos

The Centro Cristiano de Servicios Médicos(CCSM), a private non-profit organization founded in 1980 in Santo Domingo aimsat providing the Dominican population with first-class yet affordable medicalcare. The center runs five clinics which are strategically spread across thecountry in order to improve access to medical care for the rural population.CCSM is known for its ophthalmology department but alsoprovides services in audiology, ENT, general medicine, cardiology, orthopedics,general surgery, OB/GYN, urology, gastroenterology, among many others.

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