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40-Year-old Akila became a ray of hope for people with disabilities

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Sep 19, 2022 5:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

Thiruverumbur resident 40 years old K Akila, understands what silence means and how devastating it can be. She learned it from her two speech and hearing-impaired sisters, whom she has raised since she was a child. She grew up communicating with them in sign language and acted as a translator for them when they visited various government offices for disability-related needs.

During these visits, Akila realised the significance of her skill and how she can assist others with similar disabilities. Today, she is a ray of hope for many of these people, guiding them through the maze of government procedures and ensuring that they receive the benefits they are entitled to.

The youngest among six siblings, Akila couldn’t complete her schooling, but her hard life has been an able teacher. “My education may have ended at Class 9, but my world started expanding thereafter,” she said. Meenakshi, one of Akila’s sisters, said through sign language that she wouldn’t have come this far in life without Akila’s support.

Help people through Tamil Nadu Federation of the Deaf

Akila helps people like her sisters through the Tamil Nadu Federation of the Deaf, of which her sisters are members. “Government offices don’t have someone who can help speech and hearing-impaired individuals communicate. This prevents them from accessing schemes meant for them,” she said. She also requested the government to simplify employment quota for the disabled. “As the process is time-consuming, many land a job very late in their lives.”

Corruption, according to Akila, was undermining the quota's effectiveness. An official once asked her sister for a bribe of '1 lakh in order to advance her application for the position of anganwadi worker. According to N Rameshbabu, president of the Tamil Nadu Federation of the Deaf, obtaining government funds for the disabled is difficult. “We have to fight for everything. Even the unique ID card was the result of a protracted struggle,” he says.

Akila is aware that she has much more to offer the people. She, on the other hand, lacks the necessary resources. Her husband works odd jobs to make ends meet. Akila intends to obtain a certification in sign language and work as a sign-language instructor or translator to provide a steady income for her family and social work.

Also Read: 40-Year-old Akila became a ray of hope for people with disabilities

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