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May 4, 2004

Vision plan for the deaf in Karnataka

From:, India - May 4, 2004

Aradhana Sharma

Tuesday, May 4, 2004 (Bangalore):

There are two million hearing impaired people in the country, but their voice is rarely heard.

Now the Karnataka government has decided to draw up a vision plan for them, where rather than thrusting ideas from the top, they have decided to involve the affected population to define their own priorities.

Five-year-old Deepak is a bright boy, but his parents are worried about his future. Deepak was born deaf. And in a society which chooses to ignore his presence, rather than acknowledge his needs, there are few opportunities open to those like him, not just that, even everyday living is difficult.

But efforts are being made to change all this. At a workshop in Bangalore, the deaf themselves were asked to set the agenda.

"There is very little input for the government about the problems faced by these people and that is because of lack of communication. So through a workshop like this we put them on centre-stage so that they come out and tell us the problems faced by them. Based on what they tell us, we would like to draw up a vision plan for the state of Karnataka over the next three years," said Pradeep Kumar, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.

Employment is the biggest problem, but it is just a matter of opening the doors.

"Earlier, there weren't that many opportunities. When I joined the restaurant industry first my boss saw that I was working well and now many people have the opportunity to join the restaurant," remarked Lawrence, another person with hearing imparities.

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