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स्वयंसेविका के रूप में, मेरा अनुभव

July 29, 2015

मैं  एक अध्यापिका हूं और हमेशा सक्षम परिवारों के बच्चों को पढ़ाती रही हूं जो धन- धान्य से परिपूर्ण परिवारों से हैं . फिर एक दिन मैनें सोचा की समाज के निर्धन बच्चे, जो शिक्षा से वंचित हैं, क्योँ न उनके अंधेरे जीवन में ज्ञान का दीप जलाया जाये.  कई वर्षो तक मैंने इस तरह के बच्चों को पढ़ाया फिर मैं अपने परिवार के साथ नॉएडा आ गयी .

यंहां आने के बाद फिर यही लगा की जीवन उद्देश्यहीन हों गया है . सबसे बड़ा प्रश्न था कि “अब मैं क्या करूँ ?” फिर मेरे भाई ने मुझे “नॉएडा बधिर संस्था” के बारे में बताया . मैनें इस संस्था मैं एक स्वंयसेवीका के रूप में कार्य करना शुरु किया.

प्रारम्भ में मेरे लिए यह एक बिलकुल नयी दुनीयाँ की तरह थी जंहाँ पर मैं एक असहाय ब्यक्ति की तरह थी जो उन मूक–बधिर बच्चों की बातें समझ ही नहीं पाती थी . फिर मुझे यहाँ पर “सांकेतिक भाषा” को सीखने का सु-अवसर मिला जिसके कारण यह अनोखी सी दुनियां मुझे कुछ ही दिनों में अपनी सी लगने लगी. मैं उन बच्चों की बात धीरे-धीरे समझने लगी .

मुझे नॉएडा बधिर संस्था में काम करते हुये कब चार महीने बीत गए, पता ही नहीं चला . यों लगता है कि यह मेरे जीवन के अविस्मरणीय पल हैं.  दुनियादारी, शोर-शराबे से दूर, इन बच्चों की यह शांत दुनियाँ जंहाँ न गिले हैं न शिकवे सिर्फ मुशकराते हुए चेहरे जो जीवन में कुछ करने का जज्बा दिल में रखते हैं .

यन.डी.एस. (N.D.S.) की संस्थापक और इसकी समस्त टीम अपने कठिन परिश्रम एवं प्रयास से इन बच्चों का भविष्य सवारने में हमेशा तत्पर रहते हैं . मैं स–ह्रदय से इस संस्था की आभारी हूं कि इसने मुझे जीवन में निस्वार्थ भाव से कार्य करने की प्रेरणा दी .

सोनिका सक्सेना    

Teaching Deaf – A Neo Experience

August 8, 2011

Somewhere in my heart I always knew that I wanted to take up teaching as a profession. My first experience of teaching was when I taught children of class seventh and eighth in a Government school, located in a rural area. This was a voluntary assignment I took up after my graduation.

In April, 2010, I started taking classes in NDS when some young Deaf students showed willingness to learn accounting software “Tally”. This was my first experience of teaching the deaf. At that time I was very excited and hardly knew where to start from, since there was no structured courseware particularly designed for the hearing impaired. I only had my past accounting experience and Tally books as reference points. Even with these constraints I started teaching them accounting principles, business vocabulary and use of tally software through an interpreter. I used LCD projectors and PPT presentations while teaching in classroom with simple examples so that my students could understand easily. For people who don’t know about the Deaf, Deaf are very curious to know things, like inquisitive children. They want to know about each and every thing they see. They ask questions such as what is this, how it works, how it is different from other things etc.

In the beginning it was very difficult for me to teach them the real meaning of a particular word (words such as Goodwill, Patent, Copyright, Dividend, Depreciation, Liability, Royalty etc.) because their language is Sign Language and there are no particular signs for these words. Also students at NDS come from different backgrounds with varying skills. Since the avenues for education of Deaf have been far and few, they have always been kept away from any kind of formal education. Though that does not mean that these students have some learning disability, they are very sharp and quick learners. Even though my knowledge of Sign Language was limited, they quickly started to understand what I wanted to explain them. At NDS, we use English language to teach and while instructing them I have realized that English is a funny language. Sometimes it is very difficult to differentiate between two similar words like Income and Profit, Receive and Receipt, Account and Accounting etc. Since the vocabulary of these children is not at par with their hearing counterparts they tend to get confused with word types like nouns, verbs, adjectives and synonyms.   Most of the children come to NDS from middle class and BPL (Below Poverty Line) families and their parents are not also aware how to handle their child’s situation.

In my current batch of Tally, some students are senior secondary pass and some are graduates but their basic knowledge of English, Hindi, Mathematics and Science is very limited just like a student of class 5. Besides this, their low retaining capacity is one of the hurdles in a quick learning process.  For these reasons we have to make an extra effort to teach our students compared to that required for normal students. In the past Tally class was of three months duration, but now that period has been extended to four months. We are now in the process of developing and formalizing a special courseware especially for hearing impaired in Tally which will be of six months duration. After completing this course the Deaf will be in a position to get jobs in voucher punching, data feeding, record keeping, billing or invoice raising, stock keeping and inventory profiles.

Free and compulsory education is birth right of every child, is it only applicable for normal children? If its not true, then why there is no provision of special classes or special schools for differently abled children especially hearing impaired.   In India we have few schools in Government sector for these children and these schools are not up to mark in terms of course curriculum, teaching methods, special teachers etc. There is a huge need to build special schools,  special courseware for differently abled kids including hearing impaired so that they can grow in every aspect and have all the opportunities just like their other brothers and sisters.

I joined NDS towards the end of 2008 as a Finance, A/c and Admin person after meeting Ruma, a lady firmly dedicated to her mission of empowering this silent community. That was the time when I decided to join her and be part of her mission. I think that decision was one of the good and most important decisions of my life. I learned sign language after joining NDS and am still learning. Even today my signing skills are not so good but I can now easily understand the Deaf’s language and communicate with them.

My first interaction with a deaf person was when I joined NDS. In my decade long career in the development sector, I have worked with various organizations working on different issues. I have worked in rural as well as urban areas but I never got an opportunity to work with a differently abled community. On my first day at NDS I was quite nervous as I did not know sign language and neither did I have any past experience of communicating with the deaf. At that time I felt totally isolated since everyone at NDS was able to communicate well with deaf people, and most of the staff was also Deaf. This has now changed over time.

I will always be grateful to Ruma for giving me this wonderful and challenging opportunity. I really feel honored to get such an experience in my life.


Tally Instructor

A New World!

July 29, 2011

NDS is a world in itself about which I was completely unaware of till 4 months back.  A soundless world so different from ours but yet as lively and fun seeking as the hearing world. I came to know about NDS, when I was searching for a job. When I read about NDS, a part of me really wanted it, but the other part, (the disapproving one) warned me that I am not suitable for the job. I had no knowledge of Sign Language or understanding of what deafness was about, how I could work in a place where most of the employees are also deaf.

I’ve never had any experience of working with the differently abled and I always thought that this is one sector where I can’t fit. But little did I know how destiny can change things. After going through NDS’s website and collecting all the information I could get, I started mulling over whether to apply. Finally I decided that I should apply and leave the decision to the selection panel. After a totally unexpected interview call and equally weird interview I was selected. My family was not exactly appalled but neither were they supportive, they were just not really sure about my decision. Still I went ahead  and joined NDS.

On my first day here when I entered office, there was no one who could speak my language. For the first time in my life I felt helpless in communicating. How do I tell excited people around who I am or simply what I am doing there? But surprisingly rather than leaving me alone and ignoring me, like most people do after seeing a differently abled person they came forward and tried to communicate with me. In no time they taught me a few greeting gestures and how to spell my name.

It has been more than 4months since I entered this new and different world and there has been no looking back. Amazingly, now not only my family has accepted my decision, but noticing my happiness they also feel happy and excited.

NDS is a crazy place with so much happening each moment. There are days when you don’t even realize how morning became afternoon and afternoon moved to evening. The best part about NDS is that you get to see so many smiling faces that you can’t really stop smiling yourself. These things may sound overly dramatic, but you need to see and feel for yourself on what I really mean and how true it is.

Aditi Agarwal

Assistant Program Manager

Noida Deaf Society – India

Dil Se….

March 16, 2011

20th April’ 2009, marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life when I joined Noida Deaf Society as a Programme Manager. Working with Deaf youth was a first time for me. In fact the whole issue of disability was completely new for me. When I took the decision to join NDS – I really did not know what was driving me. I definitely did not know the language of the Deaf nor had any special skills of working with Deaf people.  I did not have any prior special attachment to the issue either. And I did not even have any Deaf people in my family. As a matter of fact I had never even come across a Deaf person in my life except once when I had visited NDS as part of my work with the organization I was working for previously. So was it money? Most definitely not!! Big, famous organization? No again!! NDS was a small organization and little known at that point of time.

In fact my parents were at a loss in making sense of my decision especially my mother. She had never heard of NDS.  Much like me, she had never ever thought of Deaf people in her life. Her biggest and valid concern was how I would interact with them.

Well, in life there are certain decisions you happen to just take. You don’t feel the need to weigh any pros and cons but just happen to know what is it that you have to do. That is exactly what I felt when taking the decision to join NDS. Not to say that I felt no anxiety- yes I spent many sleepless nights, did some pep talking through letters to myself (I have a strange habit of writing and cheering myself up :-)). Yes, so I did all of that and for some strange reason fought with my mom too and blamed her for not being supportive enough!!

I knew about NDS’s work and the lady behind the organization- Ruma Roka. I had met her during my visit to the organization for some partnership project on behalf of the organization I was working with earlier. When I met Ruma, her passion clearly reflected in her eyes and yes in her hands. It was something extraordinary to see her communicate with her students in Sign language. The rapid gesturing of the hands, of course making no sense to me, meant a whole lot to the Deaf person she was signing to. The whole energy of the place totally enthralled me. I went back to my office but the memory stayed with me. I knew someday I would come back. But I was thinking more in terms of volunteering as NDS was so close to my house. Little did I know what was coming my way!!

Also at some level, I think I believed in Ruma. I had been truly bowled over by her and knew that I had to be with her in this mission of changing someone’s life for the better. It is her heart that drives NDS. It was the same heart that at some level was driving me and calling out to me.

It is almost 2 years now since I joined. It has been one incredible journey. The road wasn’t a straight, smooth one. I had to first get accepted by the Deaf community. So I started learning Sign Language- the first language of the Deaf. I did not have the luxury of going through a classroom programme. I was thrown directly into the pool and through constant interaction managed to pick up the language. Along the way of course I often made embarrassing and hilarious mistakes signing the wrong signs and shocking the day lights out of the Deaf!! Not a good idea to think of those days!! And yes, it also felt a little strange to not have any sound even when there were dozens of young boys and girls just in the next room. I am not a very talkative person but to pass the entire day without having any real vocal conversations except with Ruma perhaps, sure felt odd initially. Not to mention managing the centres with over 400 students, a team comprising of Deaf people except for 3 hearing people, sure was overwhelming.

There were days when I thought I would completely lose it. Phone ringing nonstop, parents calling to enquire about the courses, students standing for their admission process, parents visiting and wanting to know how their child was doing, students coming in for jobs, candidates waiting in line for their job training to begin, employers waiting for the list of candidates, report waiting to be sent to the donor….and all of it happening at the same time!! And I swear to God I’m not exaggerating!!

But the next day you go to work, enter the gate and there are all these young boys and girls smiling the biggest smiles and excitedly signing “good morning” to you!! And you forget all the madness and then begins another beautiful day at NDS!! Enter Ruma and she gives you the most loving hug, and you are geared up for whatever may come your way. The phone rings.. an employer on the line..saying that NDS students are excellent and they would like to employ more deaf youth!! My day is made!! After much jumping and some more hugging…it’s a happy day at NDS!!

So what is it that I love about NDS? There is of course a long list but what I owe to NDS is the fact that it has taught me to value what I have. Often we get into complaining mode and just talk and think about the things we do not have or what we want. We don’t even think about what we have let alone appreciate that. Our Deaf kids here don’t have two of their senses. They have not heard sound; they cannot talk yet they smile and go about life like there is no tomorrow!! They have taught me to love myself and I can’t thank them enough!! 🙂

February Updates

March 14, 2011

It gives us immense pleasure to inform that our graph for employment is steeply heading northwards. With 26 employments this month of February the total number has reached to 302. This month total student strength at NDS has reached 424.

NDS team was invited to present mime at Barclays on the 8th of February. The staff at Barclays enjoyed watching the mime presentation as did NDS team performing it.

Later in the month on 24th February a team from Barclays paid a visit to NDS to study about volunteer options at NDS. Collecting information about deaf world and the areas to focus on for development of social and soft skills and work readiness among deaf, they also attended a basic sign language session. Not to forget that Barclays, in the past also, had organized various volunteerism programs to develop relations with the deaf; this was another effort to take it one step further.

14 deaf students from NDS were selected to work at different Costa Coffee outlets across NCR. These selected candidates undertook two days workshop at the Costa Coffee training centre in GK II. Learning about the work ethics and the nature of work at Costa Coffee they were all set to join at their respective work places. Shiwani Khanna (a dedicated volunteer) and Lalita another volunteer conducted the training in sign language for the deaf to understand better.

On 8th and 9th of February Ruma, our General Secretary went to Mangalore. A workshop was organized for the staff of MPhasis at their Mangalore office. A presentation was given to sensitize entire HR team about deafness and the positives of working with the deaf. Learning basic sign language was a part of the agenda.

Moving a step further towards our larger vision –to be the lighthouse for the deaf community we connected with a Deaf organization, this time in Mumbai, to train 14 youth out of which 12 were finally selected for on the job training at Agro Tech -Foods in various parts of Maharashtra. The module, which was followed in Hyderabad, was followed in Mumbai too.

This time again, Preeti Dhingra, our Program Manager, together with team from Agro Tech Foods conducted initial sensitization and sign language orientation for the Agro employees who would work with the deaf.

The students enthusiastically attended the two day workshop henceforth starting their training at different locations.

Our Annual Felicitation Ceremony of the NIIT Foundation Certification for DTP and MS Office students was held on 19th of February.

Mr. N.P. Singh Dy. CEO Noida graced the occasion by his presence and also awarded the certificates of completion for Desk-top Publishing and Graphic design to the 18 successful candidates.

Mr. P.Rajendran, COO NIIT Ltd., and Padmashree Mr. B.S.Das distributed the certificates for MS-Office to the 44 successful students.

The other special guests present at the function were Dr. Madan Vashisht (Phd – Gallaudet University) and Mr. Dheeraj Bhushan ( Director – HR Shangri La Hotel). The esteemed guests gave inspiring talk to our students which was interpreted by 2 efficient interpreters.

Ruma, our founder, in her speech, talked about previous experiences and the vision ahead, followed by a beautiful presentation about deafness and the capabilities of the deaf.

The highlight of the program was a dance performance by our deaf students who despite their handicap displayed perfect coordination.

The program concluded with National Anthem being presented in sign language.

Stay tuned for next month’s updates!. Have any questions? Feel free to reach out to us via email or social media. Or best visit us at our Noida office!

January Updates

March 4, 2011

At NDS, the New Year started with renewed energy, a promise of new targets to achieve and new benchmarks to be set. The first month of the year had 52 new students getting enrolled for different courses at NDS taking our current student strength to 404. Also 20 students from NDS found placements in Agro Tech Foods and Jawed Habib salon, the renowned hairstylist, taking the total employment to 276


Here is a brief overview of our outreach:

Student Strength Employment
Till December’10 352 256
New Joining in Jan’11 52 20
Total 404 276

Our larger vision is to be the lighthouse for the Deaf community in India.

We took a step in this direction when NDS went Pan India with placements when 11 NDS students joined for on the job training at Agro Tech Foods. This training which commenced at different locations of Delhi-NCR, and continued for 15 days concluded with all joining at their respective work places in different parts of India like Orissa, Chennai, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Haryana.

Again later in the month we connected with a Deaf organization in Hyderabad and helped train and employ 6 youth in Agro Tech Foods in various parts of Andhra Pradesh. A two day sensitization and training program was carried out in Hyderabad itself. Our Program Manager, Preeti Dhingra, together with team from Agro Tech Foods conducted initial sensitization and sign language orientation for the Agro employees who would work with the deaf. On the second day the candidates were trained about various Agro products and their job responsibilities. The training was carried out through a presentation and video conference in which a deaf working at Agro Tech Foods, Gurgaon communicated and explained the job responsibilities to the trainees in Hyderabad.

After proving their caliber in various sectors such as hospitality, IT, packaging, retailing, merchandising, designing etc., this month our students got an opportunity to prove their mettle in a new job profile. Sarthak, an NGO, provided a link and facilitated employment for 5 of our students who were selected to work at Javed Habib salon. These selected students will undergo training in hair cutting and styling and henceforth get employed based on their performance during the training.

NDS organized a visit to National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi for these students,-where Anish Kapoor, a world renowned artist, displayed his works. The students got a chance to study the artist’s sculptural works alongside a large group of architectural models. The students could learn about new concepts and perspectives which they can incorporate in their future works. This was one of the exposure visits which NDS organizes from time to time for its students.

Our New Logo

March 1, 2011

We are constantly being asked who designed our new logo? The answer is Mathew Zacharia , Head, Communication Design- NIIT. Thank you Mathew!!

Also many of you must be wondering about the meaning which our new logo conveys.

NDS has grown and is today making a huge impact on the Deaf community and in the society at large. Over the years, NDS has come to mean a lot more for the Deaf community and hence we felt a need to bring about a change in our logo. NDS is today symbolic of hope, aspirations, community development and partnerships for change; which is being reflected in our new logo. We hope you like it and we sincerely hope that with your support we will continue to add value in the lives of millions of Deaf in the country.

Thank you to everyone! Keep the feedback coming in 🙂

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