Humble Beginnigs

Inspiration

Ruma Roka was a homemaker restless to find a mission and meaning to life. One day she came across a woman interpreting the News on National TV in Sign Language. She was deeply intrigued by the use of hands for communication and decided to learn Indian Sign Language.

Learning sign language got her in touch with the Deaf community and she was deeply moved to hear their stories of daily challenges – no acceptance in society, even within family and very few opportunities of employment and a general lack of awareness of sign language and the abilities of the Deaf.

She spent one year (2004) in experiential learning and meeting deaf people from all walks of life, young and old. She volunteered as an interpreter for deaf people in hospitals, in schools and wherever she could help them access civil services; it opened up her life to a community that had been side-lined for years from education and employment.

The Journey

With a little amount of money from a matured insurance policy, Ruma finally decided to set up Noida Deaf Society in 2005, in a small 2 bedroom flat belonging to her husband in Noida. She alone started teaching Basic English Comprehension to only 5 deaf students.

Ruma struggled with social stigma, misunderstanding of deafness to be a disease rather a lack of awareness of the ability, with schools and even ENT specialists shunning Sign Language as a method of communication. She has since then, striven with urgency, never neglecting for a moment the quality of delivery, and has been able to build a model organization and a Light House for the Deaf Youth Training and Placement in India.

She worked with content developers and created the first ever Visual Curricula for deaf students. She brought the world of Computer Literacy to the deaf youth- to be delivered in Indian Sign Language

This is first of a kind in the country where professional Vocational Trainings and Skill Development courses were made accessible for Deaf Youth in a nurturing environment using Indian Sign Language.

Realizing that the best way to develop capable young adults is to instil learning and education in the formative years - Ruma also started a Primary School for Deaf Children and today The NDS Primary Wing has 75 children from the age group of 5 to 15 getting formal education from Nursery to Class IV, by following the Bi-Lingual Method for teaching educational content and core life skills.

From teaching only 5 deaf students in the first year of starting NDS, Ruma has striven to mobilize deaf youth from villages across UP, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradash, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. It is one of a kind organization where over 70% employees are from the deaf community.

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