Loss of hearing led Rajen Nair on the path to teaching photography in sign language
An unexpected setback in the prime of his life opened new doors for Rajen Nair. A door that led him into the world of sign language and an opportunity to empower many deaf children and youth by teaching them the magic of photography.
In 2000, when Nair became partially deaf after a surgery, he decided to give up is business and do a course in journalism and photography. His pictures were soon getting noticed.
He decided to share the magic of photography with a wider audience by teaching these skills to deaf children as well as those undergoing treatment for cancer.
That was 10 years ago and today Nair has mentored over 1,000 students, he says.
All my students are on WhatsApp groups. I also started a Facebook page where they could post their pictures. This has 2,400 members, which includes deaf students, children with disabilities, as well as artists from around the world. - Rajen Nair, Photographer
Nair says learning sign language has enabled him to communicate more effectively with deaf students.
" My work gives me great joy and many people have donated equipment, which has helped. My deaf students say photography has given them a purpose. It has helped them meet new people and travel. They are so confident that many want to take to a career on photography".
Nair has students in Goa, Mumbai, Faridabad, among other cities. He has workshops across the country for children with a range of disabilities, and he holds them for free.
Nair also visits hospitals where children are being treated for cancer to give lessons.
"I love to hold my sessions outdoors, on the streets, people, in the midst of life. This exposure helps children understand the importance of taking photographs better".
Nair's students say that photography has not just opened new career options but also taught them life lessons such as patience and mindfulness.
Nair has been recognised for his efforts this year by the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). He is just happy that he is helping to make a difference in society.
Get a glimpse into Nair's world. Check out the photographs from his Facebook page Spreading Light.