Story of mine by Ms. Neeta Kesharybhattarai
I was born in 1971 November 1 in medium class family. I am the youngest daughter. I have two elder sisters.
When I reached 4 years of age,My parents found out that I lost my hearing because I did not response well when they called me. In that time, there was no audiogram or hearing test device to find out the ability of hearing. They took me abroad to get confirmed and in hope that I may regain my hearing. But every place in India and Sri Lanka doctors told me that I will never regain my hearing and suggested me to prevent from further damagingmy hearing power. In that time my hearing power was around 50 db approx.
In spite of all these, I studied with hearing students. I was a good student at that time. Gradually, I became weak in my studies due to my inability to hear completely. My parents took me many places for check-up. But doctors advised me not to use hearing aids because they told us that it will further damage my hearing ability.
After few years, when I reached grade 4, I still remember the first incident of discrimination, that teacher gave me punishment and kept me outside of the classroom for half of the day because of my incomplete assignments. I was completely unaware of the assignments given by my teachers due to my hearing ability and poor eyesight. I was back bencher due to my height. When teacher wrote the assignments in blackboard then I used to know about the homework but when given any assignments verbally was not understood by me. I was used called as dumb student due to my poor hearing power and poor eye sight. I used to wear thick eye glass too. My eye vision is also poor due to myophia.
When I reached 8 grade and I came to know that I must have to try myself and no one will help for me to study. Friends were my competitorand all teachers were not friendly to me.
[ In our country teachers always praises and encourage to intelligent students. Teachers in our country never come to realised and never feel why their students are weak. They never felt that if their teaching technique is applying to all types of students or not. They do not know that they must have to encourage all students and should pay equally attention to weak student and must have to make same level as to other intelligent students ].
So, I started to copy notes from my colleagues. I used to study by myself practising by the examples given in the book. By this way, I completed my school life by competing with hearing students.
I loved to play games, sports but I was never allowed to play because it was depending on hearingablity. Everytime, I was thrown away even if I was good at sports. I fulfilled my sports life when I reached 18 years of my age. I joined club of badminton near my house. In that time I already started using hearing aids.
When I reached 16 years of age, I got chance to accompany with my mother’s official trip to Canada and I got opportunity to get my ear check-up there. The doctors in Canada were surprised to know that I was not using hearing aids and was struggling myself with hearing students.
When I started using hearing aids I became surprised to hear different kind of voices around me. It made me more confidentand I felt strong in hearing community.
But at that time I never realised that only using hearing aid would notsolve all the problem of hard of hearing. Despite using hearing aids I could not clearly hearmy college teacher‘s speech. I could hear the voices but my brain could not capture all the sounds. It always made me confused of people’s talking and I again started to avoid the crowd.
But I used to gather my close friends at my home and shared a lot of happy moments. I used to feel happy when they come to my house. I did not realise that it was because of avoiding noisy places.
When I reached B-com second year I joined hotel Himalaya where I worked as asst. Food and Beverage control. I had six years working experience in that hotel. I also gained a lot of knowledge in hotel industry through that hotel. I felt discrimination also. I was treated as sympathy staff for getting job. But I used to complete my task very well which was given to me. In spite of all good work, I could not get promotion as others got. I fought for promotion but in the end, when I was about to resign to go to Japan,I got promotion. But it was very late to feel my success.
I could not express my feelings to my mother because she was just happy and had false confidence that now I will succeed in my life. I did not want to break her confidence.
In spite of all these I graduated in Business Administration myself by self- study. I always had my desireto prove myself as being independent andas other members of my family. That’s why I always struggled to convince my mother to send me abroad to study so that I could live my life with confidence. But till today I still feel that I have not succeeded. I was in need to be part of some training which would make me self-reliable.
I thank to my parents that they sent me to hearing school so that I will never feel my disability. Because of them and my sisters, also I am feeling independent to live barrier free society. I think it was the great example of needs of inclusive education by parents for hard of hearing people which was practised by my parents.
But I got a lot of experience of being discriminated in school, training centres and in offices. Which made me feel need of voice against discrimination for hearing impaired people in hearing society. I also know the view of hearing people as I grew and been mature in hearing society.
My parents send me to get training in computer in NIIT. I completed one year course. During the training period it was very hard for me because it was English medium. I was depended on Nepali medium which means I was totally depended on Nepali lip readings too. In that time I had to take note which used to give by verbally. But I could not completely note all the lessons. It was very difficult but in spite of all these I completed one year course which included Sybase, c ++. Unix and others. After completing this course I could not get job in this field. So being hopeless, I stopped computer practise too. During that time, I used to take class in the everning after my daily job at Hotel Himalaya. I used to be too much busy and was struggling my life for better career.
In developing country like Nepal raising three daughters by a single mother after her husband expiry is very difficult. My mother struggle all her lifeto provide all the facilities to her daughters. Due to my hearing disability my marriage and my future was the main focus of tension for her. So, I decided to get married soon to relieve her out of it. Normally, tears roll out from a bride’s eyes while leaving her parent’s home but I hide my tears so that my mother could be happy and relaxed.After that I did not told her anything about myself and my struggle till 12 years of my marriage life. My desire never fulfilled. I could not get my identity of capability in any. Till now I am searching my identity. Due to this reason may be now I am in this disability field to make aware to other about hearing disability.
Suffering all of these my life had changed after getting marriage I got very supportive husband. I went to japan with my husband. In japan I volunteered in various social sector of deaf and hard of hearing and other disable sectors. I learned a lot from Japanese people. My husband also supported me a lot for my self- research in hearing impaired field in Japan. Due to his support now I am in this field to aware society.
After spending one decade in japan I returned to Nepal. I started to make awareness movement into the hearing society of the through medium class family. Some of it I am challenging hearing society and proofing that deaf and hard of hearing need inclusive education and equal opportunity as other needs.
In February 2011, I had been elected as secretary of National association of the deaf and hard of hearing, where I am working as co-ordinator with deaf and hard of hearing people, counselling with their parents, capacity building, education and employment for them in various sectors.
Recently, we just established hard of hearing and deafened association too. My role is as President of the association. This new association’s name is SHRUTI (National Association of Hard of hearing and Deafened Nepal). Its main focus isto aware hard of hearing and deafened people who lost their hearing after being hard of hearing or who lost their hearing by any incidents during their life time.
We established this association because in there is no single voice of hard of hearing people. They are not accepted in deaf society and hearing society. They are facing many challenges in education, work places and many others. Hard of hearing can be bridge between deaf and hearing community. In Nepal, some deaf community hard of hearing are forbidden to use their speaking ability may be to improve the sign language.
So, our new association is making aware to hearing disable people to use their speaking ability. We are counselling them and their parents using hearing aids they can change their life and can communicate with hearing people.
Till today I am in this field I don’t know I will be success or not. But I think sharing my experience and my story it will make awareness into the hearing and deaf society including all disable society. I am thinking to plant a seed in hope that it will make huge shape to make barrier free society as todays slogan for new generation people.
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