Hearing aids make it into Gaza

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Derry man, Charlie McMenamin, has revealed that a collection of hearing aids gathered by a local group, have finally made it into Gaza.

In April of this year the ‘Journal’ revealed that the collection of hearing aids had been blocked at the border.

But yesterday morning, a delighted Charlie discovered that after 10 attempts, they had finally succeeded.

“Emad Isleem, the director of the BASMA Centre, which supports children and adults with hearing difficulties, has been in touch to thank all of you who have helped,” confirmed Charlie

“It has been a long, frustrating and difficult task. There has been a lot of red tape. But I keep saying, do small projects that are deliverable.”

Charlie revealed that more than 200 hearing aids have made it over the border and he paid tribute to the many people in Derry and Ireland who had helped make this happen.

“I am so proud of you all for donating,” he said, giving special thanks to Raymond McCartney, Catherine Hutton and Terry Morrison.

Charlie said that some work was now being done on the hearing aids to have them recalibrated so the children, and some adults can use them.

The project began in 2012 when a group from Derry visited Gaza and the Al-Basma Centre for Audiology & Speech Therapy.

“They told us they needed hearing aids, which are very hard to come by,” Charlie explained.

Charlie made contact with the director of the Basma Centre for Audiology and Speech, Mr Emad Isleem, who arranged for a friend of his to receive them on behalf of the Basma Centre.

“The idea was to then transport them legally to Gaza to the children who needed them,” he said.

Charlie was left devastated when the hearing aids were blocked earlier this year. He had just returned home after taking part in the Palestine Marathon when he received word that the hearing aids were blocked.

At the time the group Friends of Palestine appealed for help from the World Health Organisation.