As the MV Explorer departed Hawaii for 10 days at sea travelling toward Japan, the Unreasonable at Sea team asked that our unreasonable founders each reflect on their journeys to this point. Here is the story of Tendekayi Katsiga, founder of Solar Ear.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

– African Proverb

Twelve years ago l met a student by the name John. He brought a newspaper to me so that l could help  him understand the contents of the newspaper. I inquired about his life and discovered out that John was a given a hearing aid some years ago. Non-Governmental Organisations distributed Hearing Aids to hearing impaired of Botswana.

This was a short term solution to a long-term problem. John could not continue using his hearing aid because of the unavailability and affordability of batteries.

Solar Ear Deaftronics - Tendekai presents on stageAs a result, John was cut out from the rest of the world. He lived in a silent world. I had many questions, I could not sleep. I started to ask the fundamentals of life.

l approached a Canadian volunteer by the name of Howard Weinstein about the plight of John. We discussed the problem and decided to apply for a grant which enabled us to come up with a solar rechargeable hearing aid.

Finally the African Development Fund awarded us a grant. Deaftronics worked with hearing impaired people in Botswana to develop a solar-rechargeable hearing aid. John was the first recipient of the Solar Ear.

The Solar Ear charges 3 batteries at once, and each battery lasts for 5 days. John´s life has improved he is now getting good grades. He is able to read and write. His ambition is to become a Doctor so that he can help other hearing Impaired people. Our main mission at Deaftronics (Pty) Ltd is to employ hearing impaired people. And our second mission is to manufacture affordable hearing aids.

The Unreasonable team did their research and found out that our company had come up with a solar rechargeable hearing aid.

Six months ago an email from Unreasonable popped into my inbox without invitation. A great idea was being introduced for us at Solar Ear to take hostage of the world’s problems.

Being with Unreasonable at Sea completes a whole circle, when it comes to being innovative and bringing solutions to our ever changing environment. Being Unreasonable gives you a platform to look at a problem and come up with so many solutions to solving it.

I’m hoping that through our experiences with Unreasonable at Sea we will find a common solution to some of the challenges we face as a global community.

Tendekai from Solar Ear meets Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Tendekayi and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Photo by Danny Askew, Unreasonable Media

Unreasonable is going to give me (and Deaftronics / Solar Ear) a platform to scale our business to an international level. It is a launching pad for our company to have an exposure when it comes to marketing, distribution, and networking at an international scale.

Participating at Unreasonable at Sea and having mentors who are leaders in the Social Humanitarian Entrepreneurship space including Daniel Epstein, George Kembel, Carly Cooper (SAP), Colman, Ben and Abby (our Learning Partners) makes it easy to solve the world’s problems.

I hope from this experience more partnerships and collaboration will emerge.

George Bernard Shaw said ”Some men see things as they are and say why – I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Why not become the first company to manufacture a Solar Rechargeable hearing aid?

Why not become the largest employer of hearing Impaired people in the world?

Why not manufacture affordable hearing aids?

When the winds of change blow at Unreasonable, we set sail on the voyage of a lifetime. There was no need to think deep about it, because you were going to miss a solution to a simple problem.