The Syrian American Women's Association of Southern California (SAWA) is a 501 (c)3 non-profit, non-political charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of under privileged children with hearing loss and associated conditions. SAWA is composed solely of non-paid volunteers who work with the community to seek children that need their help. They are active in hospitals, schools and workplaces.
With the help of modern science, SAWA has been able to incorporate state-of-the-art technology over the last ten years to bring hearing to a child who has never heard a sound. This technology includes providing children with Cochlear implants as well as implementing soothing and structured rehabilitation programs. At the conclusion of SAWA's most recent efforts, 26 children were able to hear. SAWA will continue its mission to restore sound and joy to a child through the concerted efforts and passion of the dedicated women of SAWA from across the region.
Tax ID #91-2135638
Dr. Sawson Abdin Kosi Ph.D. in Public Administration In Health Services
Was a Medical Lab Coordinator at USC Medical Center (since 1988)
Taught at the Compass Center - Part I and II of FMGMs exam for medical foreign graduates (1996-1998)
Taught Pharmacology at the University of Damascus Medical School (1980-1983)
Was married for 13 years to Dr. M. Kosi, Pediafric Surgeon at the Children Hospital of Los Angeles for 18 years.
Was a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, of the
California Association for Medical Technology, and of the American
Society for Public Administrators.
Served as the Chair of the Public Relations for the Syrian American Club in Los Angeles (1998-2001)
Was Chairwoman of the Syrian American Women Association of Southern California
Hearing aids are electronic, battery-operated devices that amplify and change sounds to allow for improved communication. Hearing aids receive sound through a microphone which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals and then sends the sound to the ear through a speaker.
When the hearing is so damaged that hearing aids can no longer help, then the child is functionally deaf and a Cochlear implant is the only way to gain meaningful hearing. In the past, SAWA has worked with single-channel Cochlear implants. However recent determinations have led us to use multi-channel Cochlear implants (Bionic Ear) This device, designed by the University of Melbourne and Cochlear Limited, is an artificial hearing device created to produce useful hearing sensations by electrically stimulating nerves inside the inner ear.
As opposed to a single-channel Cochlear implant, the multi-channel Cochlear implant is able to more closely mimic the inner ear, in which sounds are organized by frequency Although significantly more expensive and requiring a complicated device-fitting procedure, the multi-channel Cochlear implant results in a more detailed representation of sound and, therefore, better speech understanding for the child.
SAWA'S FIRST HUMANITARIAN MISSION IN SYRIA
In Spring of 2001, I visited Syria to do some research on deafness as the Chairwoman of SAWA, the Syrian American Women's Association of Southern California, a non-profit charitable organization.
It was an emotionally moving and painful experience to see deaf children struggle with despair and hopelessness in communicating with each other and their parents. I sought out the Director of the Center for the Deft and Mute who explained to me that those children were in desperate need for some sort of medical solution. It was clear there was an immediate need for a dedicated effort by SAWA to put such a project together.
A small mission was organized to bring together a surgical team of doctors and specialist to go to Damascus. SAWA sponsored and coordinated this humanitarian project with the Syrian Ministry of Health and the Syrian Ministry of Social Affairs.
The following specialists constituted the American Medical team:
Dr. William House, The House Institute and the developer of the cochlear implant
Dr. Kamal Batniji, Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist
Dr. Steven Parnes, Albany Medical College, Albany NY
Dr. Mona Mourad, Alexandria University, Egypt
Badria Fodda RN, Garfield Medical Center, California
They evaluated over 190 Syrian children with hearing impairments and disabilities and selected 10 kids for cochlear implants. The surgeries were televised live to an audience of over a hundred surgeons. The American and Syrian Medical teams worked closely together in demonstrating surgical techniques, as well as device programming and audiological rehabilitation. Additional follow-up will be actively pursued by this group of specialists in cooperation with SAWA.
The Medical team was impressed by the repeated expressions of appreciation by the Syrian doctors and the parents of the children as well. Some of the mothers shed tears and sought to kiss the doctors' hands in gratitude. It was a beautiful exchange.
We also wish to thank the Arab American community in Southern California who sponsored the entire project by raising the necessary $100,000 through SAWA fundraising efforts.