Healthy Hearing “Ear Plugs” Campaign

Project Listen Up!: How One Club Has “Plugged” Quota

In Curaçao tradition, the days between Christmas and Ash Wednesday are a time to chase away bad spirits and begin the new year with a clean slate. This time is called Saka Fuku (“throwing away bad luck”). QI of Curaçao President (2005-2006) Ingeborg Campman explains that, according to legend, the best way to ward off evil spirits is through noise and clatter, which are the hallmark of Saka Fuku celebrations: the tumba competition, a grand parade, fireworks, and loud celebrations. Ingeborg describes the excitement: “For weeks, the people of Curaçao express themselves socially and artistically in sheer joy and with visitors from all over the world. There are flamboyant celebrations, overflowing with music and dance.” She says that while music is essential to the festivities, the Curaçao club has noted that evil spirits aren’t the only ones affected: “During the entire carnival celebration, the music is crashing in the ears of the musicians, the carnival participants, and the spectators along the route.” Ear and speech specialists on the island have recognized that during this season the young and old are at higher risk for losing their hearing.

In line with Quota’s worldwide mission, QI of Curaçao has committed itself, not only to embracing local tradition, but also to protecting hearing through its annual “Skucha Esaki!” (Listen Up!) campaign. Now in its eighth year, the program includes club members appearing on television and radio to explain the dangers of noise, writing a hearing jingle for the radio, and running an ad in the local newspaper. The club also joins with other organizations seeking to warn people about the problems usually associated with the carnival season.

“We rejoice each time we see a child wearing the distinctive blue-colored Quota ear plugs, because each ear saved is a step closer to our goal.”

—Ingeborg Campman
QI of Curaçao

QI of Curaçao shares more than words and warnings though—they actively help the members of the community protect their hearing by providing ear plugs. “We rejoice each time we see a child wearing the distinctive blue-colored Quota ear plugs, because each ear saved is a step closer to our goal.”

The project has had significant benefits for the club as well. In doing research for information to distribute with the ear plugs, the club has learned the most up-to-date information on deaf therapy and technology. It also offers a hands-on service project in which all members can participate and utilize creative, organizational, and leadership talents. Ultimately, in bringing together and capitalizing on these skills, the club is able to work as a team and strengthen club fellowship.

The Saka Fuku tradition is unique to Curaçao, but many of its components are not, including fireworks, music, and loud celebrations. With this in mind, we invite all Quota clubs to consider how and when your club could adopt the campaign to have the same impact.

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