July 26, 2015
A silent revolution is on, to empower the hearing-impaired by imparting computer and English language skills to them, and helping them find a job. K. Murali, founder of the NGO, Deaf Leaders, who himself is hearing-impaired, told Covai Post with the help of a sign-language interpreter, that he founded the organisation in 2003 to hone the skills of people like him, and to bring them into the mainstream.
Murali, who multitasks as teacher, career expert and software professional, said the organization, located at Saibaba Colony, offers 3-months and 1-year long computer courses, for a nominal fee of Rs.350 to Rs.700. The courses are absolutely free for candidates from BPL families.
He said the amount collected as fee is not enough even pay the rent and other bills, but he manages by working as a data entry operator in a small BPO firm. As of now, the organisation imparts training to 15 people, mostly SSLC passed candidates. Murali has also helped about 200 people find jobs.
Murali had twice failed in his attempt to get funds from the Centre for a special project. Despite the fact that the Tamil Nadu Government’s Principal Secretary and Commissioner for Rehabilitation of Disabled had recommended these projects, the Secretary of Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment turned them down.
Later he approached the District Rehabilitation Office (DRO), now known as the District Differently-Abled Welfare Office in Coimbatore, seeking funds for the hearing and speech impaired persons. The then District Rehabilitation Officer, C. Jasmin, extended a helping hand by sanctioning government assistance to them. Initially, the members received a monthly assistance of Rs.1000.
Murali, an SSLC passed, has earned diplomas in tailoring, typewriting, computer punch card operation, and has also learned the basics of computer, MS Office, Tally, video editing and website designing. He has developed websites www.deafleadersindia.org and www.indiadeafnews.org exclusively for the hearing impaired.
As a differently-abled ambassador, Murali has participated in several conferences of deaf associations in Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Canada, UK and Sri Lanka.
Deaf Leaders jointly with Rotary Texcity had organised the Tamil Nadu Cricket T20 Championship for the deaf during the World Disabled Day celebrations on December 12 and 13 last year.