Howard Weinstein, Sarah Phiri ( woman who is deaf), Tendekayi Kastiga
Twenty years ago, in the middle of the night, my 10-year old daughter Sarah, suddenly died of a brain aneurysm.I went back to work the following week, at the plumbing company where I was President, they fired me. They figured I could not make any profits for them. I did a year of psychotherapy but found that the therapist need more help than I did. He was crazy. I started another business but did not enjoy it, eventually selling my shares for $1. Having the skills as a professional manager, I figured, in 2002, I would go as a volunteer to Africa, help women earn a living as women take care of the health and education of their children. I remember my first day, in the the office, where we had no products, people , money and only 4 tables and chairs, there was knock at the door. It was a lady with a young person. The lady told me that her student Sarah, (same name as my daughter) needed a hearing aid. After a 20 second delay I was able to say that Sarah was going to get a hearing aid. The next week, I went to the school for the deaf, to talk to Sarah and the other students who are deaf. They told me about their lives, about being poor and about the stigma of having a disability in their culture. They also told me their hopes and dreams, i.e. getting a meaningful job and being able to afford and find a hearing aid battery. I wrote their hopes and dreams into a sustainable business plan. We were able to raise $250,000. I then went back to the school, hired the young deaf adults, found them a teacher of electronics and then challenged them to develop the products they needed. They then designed, manufacture and now teach their technology plus HIV-AIDS educational programs to other people who are deaf. Today, Sarah is the President of the Solar Ear program in Botswana.