Overcoming silence, Mambwe’s journey from deafness to graduation

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A 25-year-old man with hearing impairment, defied the odds by not only living beyond his deafness but also graduating against all expectations.

Mambwe Nalishuwa, was born with hearing complications and was unable to hear due to oxygen depreciation.

Due to that, Nalishuwa’s early life was marked by the silence around him.

His inability to hear affected not only his speech but also hindered his education, making success seem improbable.

He told Kalemba that his mother moved with him from hospital to hospital, trying to find a solution to his condition, but nothing was met until one day when he was between the ages of five and 10, when he met his helper.

His mother’s relentless search for a solution led them to Bet Cure Hospital, where they encountered Dr. Alfred Mwamba, an Audiologist.

Dr. Mwamba, like an angel in human form, offered Mambwe and his mother the hope of hearing again through the Starkey Institute—a global organization providing free hearing aid technology and services.

The miracle unfolded as Starkey Institute provided Mambwe with battery-charged hearing aids, connecting him to the world of sound for the first time.

His joyous experience of hearing a bird’s song remains etched in his memory, marking the beginning of a transformative journey.

“The first time I heard a sound, was when I was young in the house. After I was treated with hearing aids, I heard the sound of a bird, I remember running around the house in joy with my mother. It was a very memorable and exciting experience for me,” he said.

“Before I had my hearing aids, I was able to go to school but my performance was very bad as I could not hear anything, I would make noise in class and disturb my fellow classmates,” he recalled.

With renewed hearing, Mambwe excelled academically. He completed his secondary education in 2015 and pursued further studies at the Zambia Institute of Special Education, specializing in Sign Language and ICT.

He graduated as a teacher in Computer Studies and Special Education, proving that disability is not synonymous with inability.

Reflecting on his life-changing experience, Mambwe expressed gratitude for Starkey’s impact on his education and career. His hearing aids became his superpower, enabling him to work with various organizations.

Not forgetting the institution that changed his life, Mambwe volunteers as a sign language interpreter for Starkey.

In addition to sharing his inspiring journey, Mambwe offered valuable advice to those facing hearing loss.

“it is very important for everyone to get their ears checked, whether they have a problem or not because you might never know, maybe you have too much wax in the ears or maybe you got injured because hearing loss happens even after an accident.”

“I would also like to appeal to our old age people in Zambia to get their ears checked because the more you grow older, the more your ears reduce,” he advised.

By Buumba Mwitumwa.

Kalemba December 8, 2023

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