A new set of hearing aids has given six-year-old Alime Nkhohliso a new lease on life and a chance to be a fully active child.
Thanks to a random act of kindness from a good samaritan – who has chosen to remain anonymous – Alime can hear properly and is no longer the subject of insults from her peers.
Alime received the hearing aids, which cost R30 000, in July from a specialist in East London.
Her confidence has sky-rocketed and she is now a bubbly young girl who is full of smiles.
Alime, of Ndevana village outside Berlin, was born with a hearing impairment that left her partially deaf throughout her early childhood.
The girl’s grandmother Medrina Bulwana, 62, described the Gugulethu Lower Primary School Grade 1 pupil as being reserved and withdrawn because of her hearing impairment.
Bulwana said she was grateful to the anonymous donor, saying her granddaughter’s life had changed for the better.
Alime told sister newspaper the Daily Dispatch yesterday she was excited she could now hear properly.
“Now that I have these aids, I can hear people well and I enjoy playing with other kids now because they can hear me now,” she said.
The little girl became emotional when she recalled her life before the hearing aids.
“I was deaf. The other kids used to make fun of me and I would cry.”
When the Dispatch visited the little girl’s home, Bulwana said her granddaughter came to live with her as a toddler and as she grew, it became more and more evident that she had a hearing problem.
Bulwana said she had taken the little girl to clinics as well as traditional healers, but “nothing” seemed to help her.
“She was an unhappy child and was often alone because when she played with other kids they would make fun of her, calling her isithulu (deaf).
“This troubled her. She would always ask me why they were calling her that and she ended up avoiding them altogether. It hurt me to see her like that,” Bulwana said.
The family’s pastor, Sakhiwo Bani, was instrumental in changing Alime’s life.
“We did not have the means to get Alime this hearing aid on our own. “This has given her a new and comfortable life like kids her age, and for that we are eternally grateful.”
Alime is now a vibrant girl who loves singing. She said she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
Alime’s teacher Thokozile Majiza said the change in the little girl’s personality was significant.
“Before she had the hearing aids, she was a lonely, isolated and withdrawn child who was always alone.
“She wouldn’t play and interact with other kids. Even during break time, she would choose to sit alone inside the class.
She is now very active and plays and mixes with other kids.
“Even in the class, she now participates, asks questions and is confident and vibrant in the classroom,” she said
Bulwana said life in their one-roomed house was now a happier one. “She is elated. The aids are the first thing she asks for when she wakes up each morning and she enjoys greeting people in the streets because she can hear them clearly now.
“Now that she can hear, I have so much joy in my heart. This has given her a new lease on life.”
However, the grandmother said life was hard for them as they lived only on her social grant and relied on assistance from neighbours and friends to make ends meet.
“Alime does not have a birth certificate, which hinders her from receiving the child grant.