Nagaland’s deaf community speaks language of empowerment
Dimapur, Sep. 19 (EMN): In an attempt to create awareness about people with hearing impairment, and to promote their handmade products as well as encourage them to pursue their dreams, a Facebook page called Deaf Community of Nagaland was created in July this year.
It all started with the establishment of the Deaf Biblical Ministry (DBM) by Rev. Yanger Walling in 1987.
“This was the first time in the history of Nagaland that something was done specifically for the deaf,” a member of the DBM informed Eastern Mirror.
“Before that, the deaf had no access whatsoever to education or the church; we also did not even have a language to communicate with,” said the member.
Through the DBM and with the use of the American Sign Language (ASL), many deaf persons from across Nagaland have received education.
As part of vocational training during the lockdown and help from the ministry, many persons were encouraged to become entrepreneurs.
There are a few members of the community who have taken a ‘keen interest in self-sustaining themselves and making a livelihood through their skills’. All narration was translated through their translator.
Asangba and his wife, who are both deaf, started a convenience store in Mon Bosti, Karbi Anglong this July.
According to them, it was difficult in the beginning because of their inexperience in business.
“We are learning now and we have regular customers who come to our store; we are grateful for their support,” said Asangba.
“This store helps us to be financially independent, and this gives us a sense of satisfaction; it is also a source of comfort to us as we eagerly await the birth of our first child,” he shared.
Nokmachier L Jamir, an ardent and talented artist from Ungma village in Mokokchung district, said that he has won several state and inter-state awards for his art works especially in charcoal sketching.
“After I lost my father a couple of years ago, I knew that I had to step up and be a contributing member of my family,” said Jamir.
“I was able to use my passion for art to make a contribution to my family; I have received immense support from my family, friends, and well-wishers; I know that I still have a long way to go, but I am not afraid because God will lead and guide me,” shared Jamir.
It was informed that Jamir recently won the gold medal in the National Art Exhibition for Deaf Artist, 2020 that was conducted online.
Tekamendang, who just cleared his secondary exam, shared that his interest lies in photography, and that there is no language barrier in the deaf community because of ASL.
“Being a part of the deaf community gives me a sense of belonging, they are like family to me; I can only imagine how frustrating my life would have been if we did not have ASL to communicate with,” shared Tekamendang, adding that he hopes to become a professional photographer.