The UCA National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) chapter is reaching out to the community, hoping to raise money to cover the cost of a Hendrix student’s rare surgery.
Though Hendrix College sophomore Samson Ndindiriyimana doesn’t attend UCA, he has left a mark on university staff and students. He receives speech-language services through SLHC and is pursuing his dream of becoming a speech communicator.
A fundraiser led by the UCA Speech, Language, Hearing Center (SLHC) and NSSLHA on Friday at Pitza 42 allows individuals to donate 25 percent of their meal cost toward Ndindiriyimana’s surgery.
He is a candidate for a cochlear implant surgery planned for March 25 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. The surgery will not completely restore his hearing, but will allow him to experience sounds he hasn’t heard in 18 years.
Ndindiriyimana fled Rwanda during the country’s genocide, later contracting meningitis in a refugee camp that left him deaf and blind in one eye.
He was chosen to study physics in the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program and arrived in Conway in fall 2012.
Despite his obstacles, Ndindiriyimana remains passionate about his studies. He received no accommodations for his disabilities while in Rwanda, yet tutored hearing-able students in math and physics.
While in the U.S., Samson has become fluent in four new languages, including American Sign Language, French and English. He has plans to become a civil engineer.
SLHC clinical instructor Candice Robinson, an NSSLHA adviser, said Ndindiriyimana wants to return to his home country and that people can’t help but love him.
“His spirit in therapy is so strong and his personality is so wonderful,” she said.
Robinson spoke about Ndindiriyimana’s determination to learn, saying he rode his bike in the snow earlier this year to stay on track with his speech-language services.
About $12,000 is required for his portion of surgery costs, according to a UCA International Engagement press release.
If you are unable to attend today’s fundraiser at Pitza 42, donations can be made online at gofundme.com. According to the website, $795 of the $12,000 goal has been raised.
Checks can also be written to the NSSLHA-UCA Chapter by March 21 (UCA P.O. Box 4985, Conway, AR 72035).
Below is a video from the gofundme.com donation page: