World Day of the Deaf – Sept 25: Rethinking Women Entrepreneurship Challenged by Hearing Ability


World Day of The Deaf is celebrated on September 25. In fact, since 2009, this international event has been observed annually all over the world on the last Sunday of September. The World Day of Deaf was introduced by the UN and is commemorated to raise awareness and acquaint people about the challenges of deaf people and also their achievements. It recognizes the rights of deaf people all around the world and calls on different organizations to help uphold these rights. Attempting to educate and sensitize the common folk, the UN dedicates the entire last week of September to the cause, and terms it as the International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf). It also highlights the importance of sign language, not only for deaf people but for all persons.

On this day, we get to know more about deafness. We learn about hearing loss, and how to cope with deafness. And it celebrates great achievements: deaf people are responsible for many remarkable feats. Indeed, they deserve a day to be celebrated.

How are we placed in our attempts interact with them? There are women who have come out and pledged to contribute to upgarde this sensitive and brave community. In 2018, a hearing-impaired woman entrepreneur wowed the audience at ‘Huddle Kerala’ –a start-up conclave at Kovalam. Theertha Nirmal , co-founder of the startup ‘Sign NEXT’, expressed her desire to communicate more effectively with deaf people across the country and, make them part of the mainstream conversation too. So, she expressed her goal, through a sign language interpreter on the stage of the ‘Huddle Kerala’ startup conclave, as she said, “I have a dream. My aim is to educate and empower the deaf community through innovative technology”.

And, how can we help these people who are in need of help? Another instance is when Smriti Nagpal passed out of college with a degree in business, and she started a social enterprise for hearing impaired artists. And, just three years later, her work created enough impact, for her to count among BBC’s ‘100 Inspirational women for 2015′ – the global list of 100. And she was also picked in the ’30 Under 30′ category for young entrepreneurs. In fact, at the age of 16, Nagpal started working as a sign language interpreter in India – the country with the world´s largest deaf population. When she was 20, she started interpreting news for the hearing impaired on national TV, and she moved ahead to found Atulyakala, an organization that commercializes products made by deaf designers, such as bags, mugs and journals. Her aim is clear – to empower deaf artists in India and enhance their interaction with the rest of society through business.

What are some effective ways to overcome the disability of deafness? Here are some tips to achieve entrepreneurial success as a deaf or hard of hearing person. Keep updated with technological advances; take up useful mentorship; get the right education; access deaf-specific business directories; step into networking events and conferences ans last but not least – experience is the best teacher!

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