A young Rotarian, by the name of Louis Marchesi, realised that there was a serious lack of opportunity for young business men of that era to network and gain the experience needed for later years. As the member of a Rotarian Club, and being surrounded by older men, he started a club for young men which would enable them to develop their skills and at the same time, assist in the community by means of various projects and fund raising. The original age to qualify for membership was 18 – 40. On reaching age 40, these young men were "retired" from Round Table and many of them joined other service clubs like Rotary or Lions. The Association of Ex Tabler's – fondly know as 41 Club was formed, which is confined to ex Round Table Members who have reached the age of 40 and beyond!
Primarily the 41 Club of South Africa is a social club, many of the gentlemen having given much time and energy to Round Table during their youth. This year, the Club decided that, in conjunction with Round Table, they would work on a project called "Help us, help them hear!" The object of this project is to raise funds and collect hearing aids to give to the needy, to those who cannot afford to buy expensive aids, and who would otherwise not be able to hear. There are many people out there who no longer use their hearing aids, having either passed away, or people who continually upgrade their aids. Together with Round Table, 41 Club will collect hearing aids from people. Retirement Villages, hospitals and funeral parlours have been identified as possible collection points. Stands will be placed at various shopping malls in South Africa as collection points.
Once the hearing aids have been collected, they will sorted into different makes and models, and will be tested to make sure they work. Those that need to be repaired will be sent in. Schools that cater for children with hearing impairments will be identified, and aids will be matched to hearing loss type. The hearing aids will then be distributed in the areas in which they have been collected. Posters have been printed and put up at strategic points. All money raised will be used the batteries, services and repairs.
This project has full support of the Audiologists Association of SA and the South Africa Speech Language Hearing Association. It will be an ongoing project and done on an annual basis. P went and gave a talk to a local Retirement Village and they gave him their full support.
Just close your eyes and listen – hear the sound of the person chatting away on the phone next to you, or the telephone ringing! The simple hum of a fridge that works, or the slamming of a door. The sweet sound of the birds tweeting and children singing! Imagine the look on the face of a child who might hear these things for the first time after putting in a hearing aid ...