• Karen Levin

Paving a path

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

I started my private practice about 5 years ago after 30 years in the public sector - in hospitals, schools and at a university. I have become aware of the tremendous privilege of private practice, and have no qualms about providing services in this sector. I have the need and right to earn a decent income on which I can live and support my family and live one day in retirement without having to depend on others. Private practice may offer me this financial security. I also like to work - at this stage of my life particularly - in a more resourced and less stressful context. In addition, I believe that people who can afford the services of a private practitioner have the right to access such services.

I am, however, cognisant of the tremendous needs of our country. This is why I have started this organisation, Humanitarian Speech-Language Therapy. It is based on my philosophy that we all have a duty to contribute to the broader society in some way. I know that private practitioners contribute enormously to society - the very work that we do changes lives every day. In the private sector we have the opportunities to apply our skills effectively because we have experience, resources, and support. However, we, like many speech-language therapists all over the world, live in a society in which the majority of individuals do not have access to our services, and where the speech-language therapists who work in some contexts do not necessarily have the resources that they need in order to be effective. In addition, some are young, inexperienced, or have not had the opportunities to attend clinical courses and have asked for mentoring and support. Others are spread thin and are under enormous pressure and would benefit from volunteers to help them.

Hence, I have started this organisation, Humanitarian Speech-Language Therapy, otherwise known as H-SLT. I believe that we all have a contribution to make so that more individuals are better served, and that we have a duty to contribute to our country and its peoples to redress the past. If all of us contribute a little, a lot of 'little' will fill many spaces.

At this time, I am restricting this organisation to

1. Provide augmentative services in contexts in which SLTs work.

2. Provide supervision, mentoring and support to SLTs in under-resourced contexts.

3. Concentrate on Johannesburg and surrounds only.

I have huge dreams for the future, but we are laying down the paving bricks one at a time.

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