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May 10, 2003

Dhwani treats one patient free everyday

From: Mid-Day Mumbai, India - May 10, 2003

By: Radhika Oltikar

A five-year-old boy struggles to identify the yellow block from among the various coloured blocks on the floor. When he finally selects the orange block, the therapist gently points out his error.

He then jubilantly picks out the correct colour and is praised for his efforts. This is a typical sight at the Dhwani Deaf Help Centre at Jambli Gully.

The centre not only offers therapy for the hearing and speech impaired, it also helps stroke patients and children with learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism and cleft lip and palate.
"I have always wanted to work with the hearing impaired.

My brother, who has a hearing problem, was the driving force behind this decision," says 25-year-old Dr Rupali Pandya, who established Dhwani three years ago.

Pandya runs the centre with her husband Dr Dhruv Pandya, an audiologist, and her cousin, Nisha Patel.

"This is the only centre for the hearing impaired in and around Borivli," claims Pandya.

"We offer installment schemes for those patients who can't afford to pay for the therapy. And we treat one patient free of charge everyday, besides offering discounts to patients over the age of 50," she explains.
The Pandyas also hold camps twice a year where they offer free ENT check-ups and audiometric testing.

Pandya is happy that today, parents are more educated and aware of their child's problem. "This has helped us assist a lot patients, since they were brought to us in time.

Earlier, parents would delay their child's treatment in the hope that it would resolve on its own. Thankfully, the situation has changed a lot now," she adds.

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