Thursday, August 25, 2011


Additional Hearing Missions to the Middle East with the goal of donating up to 1,000 hearing aids in the next 12 months

For Immediate Release

NORTHRIDGE, California (August 25, 2011) – The ALO Cultural Foundation’s Medical Treatment Empowerment Programs continue to support local and international charities through humanitarian partnerships to identify children in need of medical relief with special circumstances in the Middle East and the United States. The Foundation is proud to announce the extension of its Forever Wish initiative in collaboration with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which has a mission that includes providing the gift of hearing to those in need around the world.

The organizations have been exploring options to provide additional hearing missions to the Middle East, enabling even greater collaboration between the two foundations. The ALO Cultural Foundation, one of the most progressive grassroots, cross-cultural awareness charities in the United States and the Middle East, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which delivers more than 100,000 hearing aids annually through more than 100 hearing missions a year in countries stretching from the U.S. to Vietnam, will continue cooperating to provide the gift of hearing for the underprivileged in the Middle East.

As part of the continued efforts to reach out to underserved global communities, the two foundations successfully worked together during the ALO Cultural Foundation’s mission toLebanon. As a result, ALO founder Wafa Kanan arranged a special medical mission for Hussein Balhas to the United States. Hussein is a child with Frasier Syndrome (physical abnormalities to face and body). During the mission – possible in part through the generosity of several participating physicians and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s International Children's Surgery Fund – it was discovered that Hussein’s hearing aids could not satisfy his need for hearing instruments with simplified controls and appropriate amplification. The Starkey Hearing Foundation was able to provide a custom, quality hearing solution for Hussein. This effort enabled the ALO Foundation to enhance Hussein’s quality of life, empowering Hussein’s social interaction, education, comprehension ability and attentiveness, in addition to increasing the awareness and mission for both organizations to implement a support system for hearing aids in the region.

Since then, the Foundation has assumed the responsibility of providing lifetime support for Hussein, making it possible for him to progress. Starkey’s Middle East International Territory Manager, Giscard Bechara, checks in with Hussein regularly, reporting that Hussein has adapted very well to his new receiver-in-canal (RIC) devices. Embracing ALO’s mission to educate, empower and enlighten those in need, the organizations are exploring ways to expand their collaboration with the goal of donating up to 1,000 hearing aids in the next 12 months.

“As the partnership with the Starkey Foundation continues to grow, the underprivileged, hearing-impaired children of the Middle East will have access to a more promising future through our Forever Wish program,” says Kanan. “We are committed to delivering quality education, increased technical skills and emotional empowerment to physically challenged children - despite the deterrents of poverty, illiteracy and neglect. This fits perfectly with the spirit of the Starkey hearing Foundation.”

“It’s important for us to help the children because they’re the future of the world – and if we neglect the children, we diminish our future,” says Bill Austin, Founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. This partnership will enable both organizations to increasingly share capabilities – Starkey with hearing aids and ALO with developing human potential.

“Auditory perception is essential to language development and proficiency; people with hearing deficits are at a disadvantage and face enormous obstacles in life. Removing these barriers makes it possible for individuals to realize their potential and become productive members of their respective societies. From the moment his life began, Hussein confronted a multitude of complex challenges, but due to the collaboration of many individuals, his undaunted, beautiful spirit remains valiant. ALO is very proud to be a part of his victorious effort,” says Kanan.

Backed by a decade of philanthropic work, the ALO Cultural Foundation was founded to build stronger, healthier communities through social investment. The Foundation focuses on community outreach, education and empowerment programs for women, youth mentoring in theU.S. and other forms of assistance to disadvantaged communities worldwide. Through its various initiatives, such as its support of orphanages in Egypt and other surrounded countries, ALO aims to promote cultural understanding and to advocate for social change. The Foundation provides myriad educational opportunities that empower those with a thirst for life, the chance for a lifetime of learning and personal fulfillment.

About the ALO Cultural Foundation

The Foundation’s mission is to educate, empower and enlighten members of disadvantaged global communities, with special emphasis on the U.S. and the Middle East. ALO seeks to heal gaps in cultural understanding while impacting the quality of life of everyone they encounter. Through good will expeditions to the Middle East, special events and philanthropy, the Foundation offers their devotion and loyalty to the most vulnerable: women and children who require guidance during their first tenuous steps toward self sufficiency. Their programs instill the confidence necessary to transform lives and build brighter futures. ALO stands for this primary, basic tenet - that humanity has no nationality – that the ways we are all alike far out-number our differences. Key to raising our common awareness is through person-to-person contact, engagement designed to break through arbitrary geo-political boundaries and damaging stereotypes.


About The Starkey Hearing Foundation

The Starkey Hearing Foundation is striving to change the social consciousness of hearing and hearing loss prevention. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help correct that disability. The Foundation has a yearly goal of giving more than 100,000 hearing aids through hearing missions in countries stretching from the U.S. to Vietnam. Since 2000, the Foundation has supplied nearly 498,000 hearing aids to people in need and is striving to achieve its goal of distributing over one million free hearing aids in this decade.

For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation, including the Listen Carefully campaign, visit

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