A little girl with the most piercing blue eyes has started a meaningful conversation; now we get to see the start of her incredible journey!
Pretoria, South Africa – Florence Ziniel and her daughter Chogtaa are from Ghana. Chogtaa was born with a rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome which means that she has ice blue eyes but is also deaf.
Waardenburg syndrome is a rare genetic disorder most often characterised by varying degrees of deafness, minor defects in structures arising from the neural crest, and pigmentation changes. It was first described in 1951.
“Symptoms vary from one type of the syndrome to another and from one patient to another, but they include very pale or brilliantly blue eyes, eyes of two different colours (complete heterochromia), or eyes with one iris having two different colours (sectoral heterochromia). The disorder also causes moderate to profound hearing loss.”
Florence worked hard to raise funds, despite all the misinformation and fear-mongering they faced, to get her daughter a cochlear implant, in the hopes that helping her hear, would help get her ahead in life. Florence and Chogtaa were assisted by the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa.
The foundation is a non-profit that works to help children in South Africa and internationally. They launched their first project, Eduplex.
“The Eduplex school, started with the vision to make a difference in deaf education by including unprivileged, deaf children into mainstream society.”
After hearing Chogtaa’s story, Eduplex immediately offered her a fully-funded place in their school where she will learn to speak. The first video they shared spoke of Chogtaa and Florence’s journey to South Africa, now they have shared an update showing Chogtaa’s first time hearing.
They joined forces with “The Oakes Collective” to create a video to tell her story, and change the idea behind “the girl with blue eyes”.
Take a look at the life-changing moment below. PS: Grab a few tissues because we cried like babies watching this!
It is now more critical than ever that Chogtaa gets a chance to learn at a school that is catered to her needs.
The school is appealing to anyone for help as now that Chogtaa is ready to start learning, being in a critical stage of her life, they need to get Florence settled into South Africa. She needs help with obtaining the correct visa to live here while Chogtaa gets the much-needed education she deserves.
If you can offer any assistance, you can contact Jayne de Smidt from Eduplex via email or call them on +27 (0) 12 941 2000.