Ruma Roka – Igniting hope in the lives of the hearing impaired

How do we react when we see a differently abled person? Some of us turn a blind eye, while some of us feel pity, and others thank God that neither they nor their family members are differently abled. However, Ruma Roka, founder of the Noida Deaf Society (NDS), is unlike others in her approach to those with special needs – she is working tirelessly to improve the lives of the deaf community.

Journey – homemaker to life-maker
Before starting NDS, Ruma was a homemaker and was eager to dedicate her life to a cause. A simple inspiration from a news broadcast in sign language helped Ruma identify her calling, and she decided to start Noida Deaf Society.

The centre, which started from a two-bedroom apartment in 2004, today enrolls over 700 students each year.

Ruma shares that a big milestone was when she applied for her students’ employment with Mphasis – where today more than 30 of her students are placed successfully. Ruma has successfully procured jobs for over 750 of her students in several large companies – The Taj Group, Old World Hospitality, Dominos, Costa Coffee, Axis Bank, RBS, Standard chartered Bank, NIIT to name a few. In addition to successfully carrying out their responsibilities, many of these students have been awarded and recognised for their outstanding commitment to these jobs.

Ruma shares, “A senior bank executive once shared that the backend processes done by our students is of high caliber and at par with expectations.”

Creating a structured course curriculum
Ruma has developed a structured curriculum in sign language. She starts by building a strong foundation for her students, which enables them to learn other professional skills easily.

The curriculum pays special attention to development of computer skills, and the students are taught various computer programmes and graphic design softwares, which opens new opportunities for her students. The successful placement of her students in areas like transaction processing in banks, request management for overseas clients, backend processing and data entry jobs, provides testimony to her approach and course curriculum.

Achievements & Recognition
While her contribution has been recognised with the Helen Keller Award among several other awards and accolades, Ruma’s modest confession is that her greatest achievement is the difference she has made in the lives of her students: “The biggest achievement is the successful placement of 750 students from NDS.”

Ruma’s story of dedicating her life to a cause has been a story of inspiration, and she has also been a speaker at the TEDx Conference.

The Road Ahead
Ruma is now looking at expanding her operations to develop a state-of-the-art learning centre, where the students who have graduated can teach other students.

Ruma practices Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and acknowledges that her Buddhist practice gives her strength to meet all odds.

Ruma’s journey has been challenging and her ‘never give up’ approach has kept her going. She has dedicated her life to spreading happiness and igniting hope in the lives of the deaf across the country. Team WEBO Power applauds Ruma’s vision and tenacity and wishes her the very best in her future endeavours.

Interviewed By: Achla Bhardwaj, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: August 27, 2013

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