Tusaajuit has been awarded $500,000 by the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) to ensure Nunavik community members have access to educational resources about hearing loss and to facilitate access to hearing care. The project also hopes to address the root causes of hearing loss by focusing on hearing loss prevention.
The award was announced in a ceremony broadcast on APTN and over the Internet on February 19. The Project Lead, Tunu Napartuk, is also the director of Complementary and Compassionate Services for Kativik Ilisarniliriniq. He said receiving the funding news was very special.
“The application process was not simple, and our team had to work really hard to complete it. We knew we had a great project, and we knew the potential of Tusaajuit,” he said. “To get a confirmation of support through the announcement by AIP was moving.”
He explained that one of the main objectives of Tusaajuit is to bridge the gap between service providers, such as Nunavik’s health and education organizations, and Nunavik children.
“It is also very important to increase awareness amongst our population on the prevalence and the impact of hearing loss especially on young children in school. For Tusaajuit, it will also be very important to diagnose Nunavimmiut and provide the best opportunities to receive support.”
Napartuk said the $500,000 will be spent mostly on a salary to hire a coordinator and assistant coordinators. Awareness campaigns will be important too, through social media, online videos, and for regional and local stations. Nunavimmiut need to better understand the cause and effects of hearing loss.
“The impact of hearing loss can be minimized by the use of a hearing aid and that this is no different from using glasses,” he said. “We will need to work together to remove the stigma of hearing aids especially in young children.”
The AIP is the largest annual prize in Canada, providing seed-funding to Northern applicants with innovative project ideas. Projects can be in the fields of education, sustainable housing, health, performing arts, traditional knowledge, language, and science.