Story of Ruma Roka who started the Noida Deaf Society to change the lives of children with hearing impairment
One day while watching a T.V. show, Ruma witnessed a news item which was being translated into the sign language for the deaf. How some random hand gestures can translate and transcend a barrier of such appalling proportions was extremely fascinating for her. Determined to break the monotony in her part and harbour a new dream, she decided to learn the sign language at the earliest. Being a housewife, she was often preoccupied but she was still able to complete the training in just three months.
Ecstatic by the initial success and a reawakened sense of awareness, she started meeting people with hearing disabilities. She understood the difficulties they faced and the problems their families bore. Startled by the lack of empathy and cooperation towards them from the society and the private sector alike, she started an organisation called the Noida Deaf Society (NDS) in 2005. Ruma understood that the problem for the deaf lay in the restriction of a medium for communication that is understood by all. Thus she started off by teaching the students English, using the sign language. The unprecedented learning rate of the students gave a boost to Ruma. She thought,” If they can pick up a language so fast, what else can be taught to them?”. Observing a gradual market shift she expanded the training into IT, Life skills, personality grooming, desktop publishing and work ethics over the years. To have the highest impact, Ruma selected the trainers herself and moulds them to teach the rest. With a structured curriculum, insightful workshops, professional training sessions and an active placement cell, NDS has managed to employ 1185 people in different companies, banks and hotels all over the country. The revelatory testimonials are the evidence of NDS’s reach into changing the lives.
Ruma smiles, every time she speaks about a student. Mukta Hasija, a student from a small village Haryana who fought her family and refused to succumb to the societal pressure of getting married. When her dreams were getting crushed, she found a way to fulfil them through NDS. NDS became her second home and a step to a new life. NDS rolls out a new program every three months and organises training sessions for the same in five workshops located in Jaipur, Jammu, Delhi and two in Noida. Apart from the vocational training that NDS provides, it also runs a primary school for children with hearing disabilities in Noida. As a mentor, interpreter and a teacher, the efforts of Ruma Roka and her team have helped thousands suffering from hearing disabilities. She is an inspiration to them and her organization has showed that disability is not an obstacle but a heightened ability which if properly honed can change lives forever.
Story by : Shiuli Bhattacharya
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