Wednesday, 19 December 2018

A Ramp Show For Special Souls

The Blissful Fashion Show with Special Souls was an initiative of the Lions Club of Juhu & Leo Club of Juhu. The cause of the specially-abled children & youth has been very close to the heart of the Lions club of Juhu.

Audiologist-Speech Therapist Lion Devangi Dalal had been instrumental in the organizing and in the execution of this special show. Powered by Hyatt Regency, Mumbai, the hearing impaired kids from Sadhana Vidyalaya, supported by Josh Foundation, mentally challenged kids from Dilkhush Special School, physically handicapped kids from Little Angel School, Khar, including blind girls, supported by NAB, was a part of this special ramp walk with celebrities such as Aditi Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Rishina Kandhari,
Shadaab Faridi, Manisha Saxena, Kiran Rajput among others including club members. The man behind choreography and the exquisite clothing designs was celebrity designer Aashish Dwyer.

“Let’s do away with myths and misconceptions dealing with any handicap. Let’s give them a quality life by enhancing their potentials. Let’s learn to live life as bliss and learn to face challenges like them. They’re a part of our society and let us get together in nurturing a better future for them,” imparted President Lion Raj Wankawalla, Lion Rajesh Rasania, Mamta Parekh and Riddhish Shah.

The specially-abled kids defied all odds and overcame crippling limitations & taboos placed by the society, to develop into gifted individuals. This fashion show carried a social message that was reflected by these special souls. The event showcased that they are second to none, as they walked the ramp, hand in hand, with celebrities & members.

Audiologist-Speech Therapist Devangi Dalal has the final word. “Every individual, whether normal or handicapped, has the potential to do something extraordinary. We just need to help them explore it so they can do better than normal individuals. In today’s world, moral support and security is crucial. The feeling of someone being there for you itself makes an individual more confident. This is my thought process.”

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Sudhanshu Pandey, Preeti Jhangiani and Parvin Dabas at Karan Gupta, MD, IE Business School's IE Venture Day, a business plan competition for startups

At an event held by IE Business School, students from the prestigious IIMs, IITs, IE and ISB participated in a business plan competition. The IE Venture Day saw hundreds of institutes participating in business plan competitions and then the winners were flown to Mumbai to compete with each other. More than 20 teams competed to win the final competition.
“To create awareness in building an entrepreneurial environment, attention should be given to create an infrastructure for mentoring startups. India is the third largest start up economy in the world and our students need to be encouraged to create more businesses,” said Dr. Karan Gupta, the Managing Director of IE Business School, a Harvard & IE Business School alumni and founder of the Karan Gupta Education Foundation.
 “At IE Business School, we foster an environment of entrepreneurship in whatever we do. From having classes in Entrepreneurship to hosting a Venture lab where students are guided how to incubate business plans, we are committed to teaching students innovation. At the IE Venture Day, we heard from the best minds from, the most prestigious institutes of our country. We are excited to see these ideas turn into real businesses,” added Dr. Gupta.
 Actors Preeti Jhangiani, Sudhanshu Pandey and Parvin Dabas were present to share their experiences with the various businesses that they have started and to encourage the budding entrepreneurs. In a panel discussion, they spoke about how acting skills can be translated to businesses and how the best startups sometimes emerge due to necessity. “Passion is the most important ingredient in any startup,” said Sudhanshu Pandey. Funding is one of the most important ingredients in any startup success and “Be a big fish in a small pond - don’t waste your money. Spend your money wisely,” advised Parvin Dabas. And some final advice for the eager students - “Hard work day and night, be ready for the long haul. Watch shows that promote Entrepreneurship” added Preeti Jhangiani.
 The Spanish Consulate General in India, Mr. Jorge Cadenas and Economic Commercial Head Vanesa Alvarez were present at the event and spoke about Spain being an education destination and an attractive space for young entrepreneurs.
 The jury and panelists consisted of venture capitalists including Akansh Jain, Ashish Dave, Prakash Ranjalkar, Ashutosh Kumar, Megha Jain, Dibeyendu Ganguly and Dharam Mehta among others. Vikas Chaudhury, President of Reliance Jio Ventures enthralled the audience with his take on the startup ecosystem in India.
 The event saw pitches from not only business school students but also high school students. “It was very interesting to see such young students pitch such innovative business plans,” said Vidushi Daga, founder of Clone Futura.
 The IE Junior Venture Day was won by students from the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad. Their winning startup was ‘Pyreoil’ which converts useless plastic to oil which can then be used for furnace and tire oil. The first runner up prize was given to students from Neerja Modi High School, Jaipur whose startup called ‘Plankton’ worked with Biodegradable plastics. Interestingly both the winning plans dealt with environmental issues and are can solve the huge plastic waste problem in India and around the world.
 The winner for the main IE Venture Day business plan startup competition went to Disguise Cosmetics, a company that manufactures vegan makeup. The jury was impressed with the cruelty free makeup, a conscious lifestyle brand. The 1st runner up was IIM Kozhikode for a plan presented on growing vegetables without the use of soil, thereby revolutionizing the way farming is done in India. The 2nd runner up was IIM Ahmedabad, where the students presented a plan called Moodcafe – an anonymous chatapp and website that provides help for people facing any kind of psychological issues.
Almas Mukri from the Worli BMC School won the IE Social Impact business plan startup competition. Her business ‘Basket of Joy’ is an online organic fruits basket company that creates social impact and spreads joy at every step of the business. The 16 year old daughter of a vegetable vendor, sources fruits from organic farmers and sources woven baskets from sex workers. The greeting cards sold by her company are made by handicapped people and the couriers used employ deaf people. The other social impact plans presented included ‘100 Women’ which encourages entrepreneurship among impoverished women. A website where students can find mentors to help them was another idea presented to help students who are lost and in need of guidance. “I am most pleased with the students who despite not having the same opportunities as privileged children, managed to come up with such innovative ideas and startups. I only wish each of them could get a winning prize,” added Dr. Karan Gupta.
 The winners of each of the competitions received cash prizes of Rs.50000 each and a scholarship to study at IE Business School and IE University in Madrid, Spain

Monday, 16 July 2018

Hear The Future

Our attitude can change the future of 63 million hearing impaired people. In most cases, children who struggle to hear can be helped with the correct hearing aid. We need to understand that hearing disability can be a renowned speech impediment resulting in the child being a socially isolated underachiever, something that can be prevented/controlled", says Audiologist, Speech therapist and Author Devangi Dalal, the recipient of Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA).

Dalal has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life of hearing impaired children of India for the last two and a half decades, and also provides free hearing services that is new digital hearing aids to hearing impaired children, enabling them to speak and attend normal schools. Dalal believes that "a hearing handicap is no longer a handicap", and is currently working at providing hearing impaired children in India the same privileges as the hearing impaired children in Europe and the United States through her foundation with Dr Jayant Gandhi, Juvenile Organisation of Speech and Hearing (JOSH), whose purpose is to educate and empower hearing impaired children.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Veteran Composer Bappi Lahiri graces Sanjukta Arun's Exhibition in Mumbai

Sanjukta Arun and Bappi Lahiri inaugurating Art Exhibition!
Artist Sanjukta Arun captures the essence of the wild wild waves in her timeless paintings. A management topper,  Sanjukta chose to be an inspiration, spelling artistic freedom for women, bound and shackled by their own thought chains and her muse include the moon and the wild waves. The inaugural ceremony of Sanjukta Arun’s 7th solo show, Thalassa: An Ode To The Spirit Of The Sea, at Nehru Centre AC Art Gallery, Worli, saw veteran composer Bappi Lahiri, philanthropist Dr.Aneel Murarka, singer Mudasir Ali, actress Kavitta Verma, fitness trainer Manoj Burkhe, and artists of the likes of Padmanabh Bendre, Vipta Kapadia, Devyani Pareek, Paramesh Paul, Ami Patel, Gautam Mukherjee, Madhusudan and others.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Maharashtra Dinman's 1st anniversary celebrations with Smt. Pankaja Munde, Shri Sanjeev Jaiswal, Shri Sandeep Lele, Raaman Khurana, Shailendra Shirke, Archana Malvi & many others

Maharashtra Dinman celebrated its first anniversary with the Maharashtra Dinman Awards at the Ram Ganesh Gadkari Rangayatan, Thane. Smt. Pankaja Munde – Minister of Rural Development and Women & Children Welfare; Shri Sanjeev Jaiswal – Municipal Commissioner; Shri Sandeep Lele – BJP Thane President; Shri Vivek Bhimanwar, CEO - Thane ZP; Shri Sanjay Kelkar – MLA, Thane; Shri Rajan Vichare – MP; Shri Pratap Sarnaik – MLA and Ameet Palve, Raaman Khurana - Co Chairman, Indian Merchant Chamber, Navi Mumbai; Shailendra Shirke - Editor, Maharashtra Dinman; Archana Malvi - Director - Maharashtra Dinman and Geetanjalee Lele - Psychotherapist among others presided over the event, where eminent citizens were awarded for their contribution to society. Archana Malvi, Publisher and Shailendra Shirke, Editor – Maharashtra Dinman said “when we started the publication a year ago, we had to create a reach in a cluttered media market. We took the citizens into confidence, and focused on giving a ear to their issues and solving their problems. A year later, we have truly arrived. But in many ways than one, this is just the beginning and we will grow from strength to strength.”

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performed along with sons, the Sarod Masters, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, to a full house at the Kommissarzhevskaya Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Enthused Amaan-Ayaan, "Russia always holds a special place in our hearts. As musicians, what keeps us going is the audiences. And in Russia, it is not just the Indian expats but the local Russians who share the love for Sarod. It is very touching when you realize that the land that embraced Raj Kapoor, the land of great composers like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, has embraced us as much. We feel blessed."

Check out the adjacent pictures!

Ayaan Ali Bangash performs at
Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

Amaan Ali Bangash, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
and Ayaan Ali Bangash perform at
Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

Amaan Ali Bangash performs at
Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

Monday, 2 April 2018

A multi-faceted woman of substance, Devangi Dalal, an audiologist by profession, has been instrumental in empowering the less-abled children and adults... her belief to not classify these children as different; her vision to reach the Government and seek its help to eradicate the illegal practices in her trade and to conduct tests for new born babies in the country to help identify hearing impairment problems at early stages. Devangi believes in imparting positivity to hearing-impaired people, that’ll help them in every walk of life.
Excerpts from an interview....

1.     What inspired you to start JOSH foundation along with Dr. Jayant Gandhi? How does your organization empower the hearing-handicapped children?

In the year 2003, my colleague, a trustee of JOSH Foundation and a renowned ENT surgeon Dr. Jayant Gandhi, happened to visit one of the residential special schools for the deaf in Gujarat. It is being managed by a trust with the help of Government grants. To our surprise, 350 children were managed by only 4 teachers and some care takers. There was no stimulation. Throughout the day, we saw all the children singing national anthem with different gestural languages. These children were not having good quality and technology based hearing aids and were not able to develop their speech in the absence of good hearing. This scene literally brought tears in our eyes and really touched our hearts. On returning to Mumbai, we decide to start a movement to create awareness, educate and empower the hearing impaired children and started activities under the banner of JOSH Foundation.

All the hearing impaired people always have some residual hearing, we have not come across any patient who has no hearing at all or has complete deafness. If we detect the same in the children at the early stages of their lives, with the help of right technology and proper rehabilitation programmes, we can make these children near normal in hearing, speaking as well as education. We can really empower them to be independent and live their lives without anyone’s support.

2.     Being an Audiologist and Speech Therapist, what inspired you to dedicate your life and career to the improvement of the hearing impaired in India?

As a professional, I got the opportunity to work with technology and travel to different countries. What I found that, they are much more advanced in terms of technology and overall awareness with the hearing handicapped. In fact, the most important amongst all is the early detection of hearing loss (almost during the first few weeks of the birth). They have set protocols and the Government also supports them very well. These real life experiences inspired me to make use of my knowledge and experiences to put into practice for my own country and for my own people. I feel blessed that I have a profession where I can do my work and serve the society as well.

3.     You have dealt with a lot of cases right from new born infants to grown up teenagers who have hearing problems... How has the exposure and experience of children with the hearing impaired changed you as a person and as a mother?

Looking at their handicap, I always tell myself that in spite of a few personal shortcomings, we are really blessed to live a healthy and normal life. These not only make you humble but make you appreciate the efforts and hardships of the parents of these children. It motivates you to be a better mother and a good human being and I always try to pass on these values to my children too.

This also makes you realize how important the use of hearing and language is, in our day to day lives. Use of good communication skills is very important for one’s overall growth.

4.     Any notable or emotional experience that you have had with children that you would like to share with us?

I would like to narrate a case of a hearing impaired child who was brought to me when he was 13 years old and in his adolescence phase. He had migrated from Bangalore to Mumbai. He was totally depressed and frustrated as he was not able to adjust himself in the new environment, not able to communicate with other students and make new friends. Since he had a problem with his hearing, he was blaming his parents for his present condition. We counselled him and convinced his parents to provide him a technologically good hearing aid, best suited for his hearing loss. After fitting the new hearing aids he started performing well in his studies and made improvement in his overall performance that boosted his confidence. Today, I can say with full satisfaction and pride that he not only completed his graduation but also went abroad for higher studies, obtained his Master’s degree and has settled there now and living a very happy life. We have many such instances and these experiences really boost our confidence and motivate us to work more and more for the upliftment of these special children.

5.     This year's World Hearing Day's theme was 'Hear the Future'. What do you have to say about the current situation of the hearing impaired children in India?

Out of the 120 million population of our country, 6.3% have hearing difficulties and out of that, 60% are kids. Out of that, only 5% of the population are getting correct treatment and eventually become independant.
Instead of treating the rest of the hearing impaired people as a liability to our country, we should work towards creating awareness and with a dedicated approach we should work towards converting them into useful assets of the society.

6.     How can one make listening safe? Any tips on how to deal with children who have a hearing problem or have lost their hearing capacity?

Anyone can have less hearing because of wax or middle ear problem, cough & cold, and sensory neural loss. Wax i.e. outer ear problems and middle ear problems can be treated with medication and surgeries. However, sensory neural losses can only be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implant surgeries. These treatments can be given according to individual requirements and cannot be done across the counter. It is a process one has to go through. With right diagnosis, right technology, proper rehabilitation - and a right mix of this entire process, one can produce wonderful results.
Hearing and listening are very important for communication. We must know how to take care of it and prevent any damage to it. We take utmost care and due diligence in investing in technologies for TV, mobiles and other electronic devices but ignore them while investing in right hearing aids to overcome our hearing disabilities, which can actually change our lives !!!

7.     What role does sign language play in the life of hearing impaired children? What were the challenges that you encountered while interacting with children who have impaired hearing?

Unfortunately, there is no standardized sign language in our country as we have so many languages. It is more of a gestural language what we use here to communicate. As I said before, we have not come across anybody having complete hearing loss, so we train all our children for aural rehabilitation so that they learn to talk like us. Principally, we are against anyone using sign language to communicate with deaf children.

Generally. a normal child starts speaking at the age of nine months. Till then they listen to your voice and we try to teach them about emotions, gestures and feelings. So for deaf kids, when we fit them with hearing aids, it’s like their birth and we feel like parents. We need to talk to this child for at least 6 to 9 months and give them inputs so that he listens and understands and expresses himself/herself. We have never had any difficulties as such to communicate with them as we feel it’s our duty to teach them language first.

8.     How do you plan to take your initiative of making ''impaired children an asset to the society'' forward? 

I feel we have the potential and skills and we have generated results, and with the right support and awareness among others, we can change lives of the hearing-impaired in India and abroad. One needs to have a correct vision and mission and works towards it with a pure heart and honesty. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I m possible'! 

9.     You have adopted a few schools in Mumbai and Gujarat... How has the Government and school organizations supported you in your noble endeavour? 

We have supported many schools in Mumbai and Gujarat. Earlier, they were reluctant to change methods of working with the hearing impaired children but now having seen the results, we are getting a very good support from the school management. We have started sports education in three deaf schools and now after a few years of seeing results, two schools have started on their own to contribute to this program and adopted it as part of their curriculum. Also, earlier they used to take donations for hearing aids as per the donor’s wish, but now they convince and request the donors to donate as per the child's requirement.

Because of good technology and rehabilitation efforts, students have started hearing well and it has made the teacher’s task easier and they are able to do more and more of creative activities along with the children. They are now more willing to participate in science exhibitions, dance competitions and it has also increased the confidence of kids, teachers and parents.

10.  About one in five people in India have hearing loss. Still many do not know about Audiologists. Why should one choose an audiologist over a General Physician?

In society, every individual has their own tasks. We do specialization in audiology, speech therapy and voice therapy. We have been taught and trained in our field in depth, and that too scientifically. Like in any other field, including medicine, there are specialists for every activity. We are those specialists in the field of audiology and speech therapy and we are more focused in this field and get constant updates by way of medical generals, seminars, conferences and on-the-job experiences. Such an access may not be possible with a general physician.

11.  What's next for you and JOSH Foundation?

We wish to create a professional video on the National Anthem being sung by special children (hearing impaired) and for it to be aired on a national network of cinema halls and multiplexes.
We are also working on plans to organise a reality show on TV/social media on a global platform.
We wish to establish a State of the Art Charitable Institute for hearing impaired children, covering all the solutions under one roof (based on the model at present functional at Mainz, Germany), where we want to train hearing impaired children and integrate them in society as normal children.
Poonam Pandey Kunickaa Sadanand Ali Asgar and Devangi Dalal with children at the JOSH Foundations

Thursday, 29 March 2018


Over 4000 runners from all across Mumbai and beyond participated in the Juhu Half Marathon, running through the scenic Juhu and Juhu Beach areas with Hrithik Roshan & Harbhajan Singh as brand ambassadors. The marathon was flagged off by Kunal Kapoor, Vatsal Seth, Darasingh Khuraa, Sujay Jairaj of Jamnabai Narsee School, and District Governor of the Rotary District 3141, Mr.Prafull Sharma among other dignitaries. Bharat Kapadia of Get Fit Thru Sports Foundation and Ujwal Andhari - President, Rotary Club of Bombay Aiport also graced the occasion.
Vatsal Sheth Darasing Khurana and Kunal Kapoor with the Juhu Half with the men on behind the Juhu Malf Marathon

The marathon was divided into three race events of 21km, 10km & an untimed race of 4km - all starting from the Joggers Park, opposite Jamnabai Narsee School. The route was through the tree-covered JVPD bylanes crossing the iLoveMumbai sign, JW Marriott, Juhu Promenade to the newly renovated Lions Garden towards Bandra National College & back for the 21km & a variant of the same for 10km & 4km — all the three getting to run upto & beyond the Juhu promenade. The race culminated at the starting point, that is the Joggers Park.
Said Bharat Kapadia of Get Fit Thru Sports Foundation and Ujwal Andhari – President, Rotary Club of Bombay Airport who have promoted the event through various initiatives, “The aim of the marathon is to inspire people across all age groups to get active and take up sports to maintain and enhance fitness.”  Echoed Ujwal Andhari – President, Rotary Club of Bombay Airport, “We are highly grateful to the fitness enthusiast community in supporting us and inspiring several others to participate in the marathon — we had a fairly good level of first time/amateur runners along with  the regular and in that we saw the popularity of this sport meeting our objective.”

The marathon also boasts of Dabur Honey as the presenting Sponsor of the Juhu Half Marathon, Motilal Oswal as the Investment Partner, Hrithik Roshan’s fitness brand HRX as the Fitness Partner, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital as the Medical Partner, Bisleri as the Hydration and Pedialyte as the Energy Drink Partner, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Thar as the Lead Car Sponsor, Imagica as the Entertainment Partner, among several others.
Every participant emerged a winner!
Ujwal Andhari Rajeev Puri Kunal Kapoor Darasing Khurana Bharat Kapadia Vatsal Sheth at the Juhu Half Marathon

Monday, 26 March 2018

Rouble Nagi joins hands with Sachin & Sangeeta Ahir for Worli Koliwada Coastline cleanliness drive

Rouble Nagi, Sachin Ahir & Sangeeta Ahir at the
 Worli Koliwada coastline cleanliness
 drive, an initiative by Rouble Nagi
of Misaal Mumbai & Sachin & Sangeeta Ahir of
 Maitree Charitable Trust 

A cleanliness drive was undertaken at the Worli Koliwada Coastline. The Coastline, located right opposite the Indian Coast Guard in Worli Village, had widespread garbage dumping issues and needed immediate attention. Artist and social activist Rouble Nagi, as part of her Misaal Mumbai initiative, teamed up with Sachin Ahir and Sangeeta Ahir of Maitree Charitable Trust, to bring about the said change and beautification to the lives of the Koli fishermen who dwell in that area.

The Misaal Mumbai artist Rouble Nagi has also been instrumental in Dharavi, Bandstand, Cuffe Parade and Colaba slums painting and revamping projects, wherein, besides just the paint, the slums are also refurbished, roofs redone with waterproofing to ensure the they do not leak in the rains. Also, recently her foundation, Rouble Nagi Art Foundation (RNAF) took it up on themselves to beautify Mumbai’s pride, the Dhobi Ghat in Cuffe Parade.

“At Misaal Mumbai, we want to ensure a clean and hygienic coastline for the fishermen and at the same time, help them beautify their surroundings. That is the least we can do for the dwellers of the Worli Koli community. As a Mumbaiite, it is a matter of pride for each of us that we house the Koli Communities!”, said Rouble Nagi.

"Rouble Nagi’s initiative as an artist and social activist is commendable. We loved the way she infused fresh life in the city of Mumbai with a new vigour and a new colour palette when she refurbished and painted the slums of a Worli Koliwada is a community and Rouble looked at the project like a blank canvas and breathed creative colours into it. Rouble, along with my wife, Sangeeta Ahir, has pioneered a citizen movement. Tomorrow, BMC and Navy workers, Podar school students, doctors and advocates will be lending a hand as well," added Sachin Ahir.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

JOSH Foundation in Mozambique

Audiologist and Speech Therapist, Devangi Dalal, got felicitated by the Indian Ambassador to Mozambique in Maputo in the presence of the American and Mauritius Ambassadors to Mozambique.
Rizwan Adatia visited India and met us at the Josh Foundation and he had in his mind to conduct and organize a hearing camp in Maputo, Mozambique.
Last year they organized a camp with USA’s Entheos. It was their first project and they found it difficult to screen and fit hearing aids at same time. The camp was conducted in two phases with 4 audiologists. 700 people were screened for hearing loss and out of them, 430 patients were fitted with technologically effective hearing aids. Entheos from USA, Rizwan Adatia Foundation from Maputo (Africa) and JOSH Foundation from India work together for humanity to create Hear the Future.
And then we went to fit the hearing aid to them and see how to make long term plan to help people to hear well.
Out of 400 hearing aids fitted, more than 50 % were on kids and middle age people getting hearing loss because of Mycin drug being administered to treat Malaria and Tuberculosis there.
In the future, awareness camps need to be conducted for all age groups to keep them informed.
She is planning to work with the Indian embassy of Maputo to make a public policy in this hearing health care issue.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Time To Be Their Voice !!!

On the face of it, hearing impairment may sound like a disability that can be easily dismissed. Take a closer look and the statistics are staggering. Over 360 million people in the world suffer from disabling hearing loss and the impairment among children is increasing at around 60%. Simply put, 5.3% of the world population has disabling hearing loss of which 32 million are children, according to WHO estimates.

In India alone, 63 million people suffer from significant auditory loss and that includes around 50 lakh children. Surveys have estimated hearing loss to be the third leading cause of chronic disability, following arthritis and hypertension. 

Audiologist & Speech Therapist Devangi Dalal with kids at the JOSH Foundation's inter-school dance competition for the hearing impaired

World Hearing Day is held on March 3 each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and to emphasize on ear and hearing care the world over. This year, with the theme 'Hear the future', World Hearing Day draws attention to the anticipated increase of people with hearing loss in the coming decades and preventive strategies to stem the rise and ensure rehabilitation services and communication tools are in place. This makes the relevance of World Hearing Day the need of the hour. 

"In most cases, children who struggle to hear can be helped with the correct hearing aid. We need to understand that hearing disability can be a nowned speech impediment resulting in the child being a socially isolated underachiever, something that can be prevented/controlled", says Audiologist, Speech therapist and Author Devangi Dalal, the recipient of Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA).

Dalal has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life of hearing impaired children of India for the last two and a half decades, and also provides free hearing services that is new digital hearing aids to hearing impaired children, enabling them to speak and attend normal schools. Dalal believes that "a hearing handicap is no longer a handicap", and is currently working at providing hearing impaired children in India the same privileges as the hearing impaired children in Europe and the United States through her foundation, Juvenile Organisation of Speech and Hearing (JOSH), whose purpose is to educate and empower hearing impaired children.

"Through JOSH, we organise programmes to empower the children, be it entertainment programmes were they perform to music, or self development or counseling sessions. We also personally fit children with hearing devices free of cost enabling them to lead normal lives. So far, over 750 children have benefited but there is a need to bring about a movement that will be a road map to independence for children with hearing impairment.”

Dalal points out that there is a need to create awareness in society about early detection of hearing disability and usage of proper hearing aids as hearing impaired children can then be integrated into normal schools.

“Proper neo-natal screening equipment need to be in place,” she adds, stating that there is a need to educate and counsel parents and children and provide the latest technology available to them.

“We also need to work on educational and job opportunities of the hearing impaired. It is then that the children will speak and not use gestural language for communication as if only they could hear with proper diagnosis, proper digital hearing and proper rehabilitation, they are as normal as any of their compatriots. Every successful child fitted with the right hearing devices is a step in that direction", urges Dalal asking each citizen to join her in this mission by lending their ears this World Hearing Day, and be the change.