Equipment for teaching speech to deaf given to African school

On the day after the Ivory Coast government granted recognition of the Church (see related article beginning on page 3), Elder Richard P. Lindsay presented to the N'Daya Foundation a gift of highly technical auditory equipment for teaching deaf children to speak.

Elder Lindsay of the Seventy and president of the Africa Area made the presentation April 20 at the school for the deaf at Youpougon, a borough of Abidjan. Several hundred people, including dignitaries from high levels of the government, witnessed the presentation.The N'Daya Foundation is an organization founded by Madame Houphouet-Boigny, wife of the president of the republic, for helping underprivileged children throughout Africa.

During the presentation ceremony, a demonstration of the use of the sophisticated equipment was given by Dr. Kazunari Koike, a specialist in the use of the equipment, whom the Church arranged to send from the United States. Dr. Koike is associated with West Virginia University's Department of Laryngology.

"It was most impressive to hear a 13-year-old girl say for the first time `Bonjour, Papa; Bonjour Mama,' " said Elder Willis D. Waite, the Church's presiding elder in the Ivory Coast.

"National television and press coverage brought great publicity to the Church," Elder Waite reported. He said he walked into a neighborhood store the day after the presentation and a clerk recognized him, saying, "Sir, I saw you on television last night and you have a wonderful church. I would like to know more about it."

Barnard and Cherry Silver, who in 1988 served as missionaries in the Ivory Coast, arranged for a financial gift to the Church to purchase the audiology equipment. Funds from that gift were supplemented with LDS donations earmarked for humanitarian relief efforts. Some of the funds also were used to pay expenses to send Dr. Koieke to the Ivory Coast to give instructions in the use of the equipment, and other funds were used to purchase air conditioning equipment for the school.

Sister Silver, who has since returned home to Salt Lake City with her husband, said when they were in the Ivory Coast they visited with the mayor of Youpougon and arranged to be introduced to school officials. "We asked what would be of use for them," she said. "We found out that there were no hearing aids for the children, although it was a school for the deaf. There was no way for them to learn how to articulate.

"We first took with us a donation from Dr. Stephen Jones of Holladay, Utah, of audiology testing equipment so it could be determined whether the children's hearing losses were in the lower or higher ranges. Then the Church ordered this other audiology equipment."