Get-hooked December 6, 2021
#Inclusive – Miss Deaf Asia 2018 Nishtha Dudeja wishes to see a more inclusive society
In the sixth story of our series “#Inclusive – Building Resilience post COVID-19 in the lives of people with disabilities” we feature Nishtha Dudeja, an Indian model and the winner of the Miss Deaf Asia 2018 title. She has been creating awareness about hearing loss and available assistive technology and speech therapy for a few years now.
The series is an initiative by NewzHook marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) which is celebrated every year on 3rd December.
Know Nishtha Dudeja
Nishtha: I was born hearing impaired with 100% hearing loss in both ears, however it was diagnosed only when I was 3 years old. On the advice of doctor, I started taking speech therapy and on the advice of speech therapist, I was sent to a normal school rather than special school for deaf, so that I could learn how to speak.
I started playing Judo at the age of 7 and won multiple medals at State and National Level. After playing Judo for 5 years, I shifted to Tennis. I played tennis for 10 years and participated in many tournaments including AITA, ITF, ATT, etc. I got to represent India at International Games for 3 times i.e. Deaflympics in Sofia (Bulgaria) in 2013, World Deaf Tennis Championship in Nottingham (UK) in 2015 and Deaflympics in Turkey (Europe) in 2017. And then I had to retire due to jaw injury (which happened in 2016).
I won Miss Deaf India pageant in 2018 and then was nominated to participate in Miss Deaf World pageant 2018. I became the first Indian to win any title at the prestigious Miss and Mister Deaf World Pageant by winning Miss Deaf Asia 2018. On 3rd December 2018 i.e. International Day of persons with disabilities, I was awarded National Role Model by Hon’ble Vice President of India.
How did the pandemic affect people with disabilities?
Nishtha: I was fortunate as l came back to home just 2 months before Lockdown was implemented. However as I am hearing impaired, I had my share of challenges. I am able to understand what others are saying through lip reading. But during Covid-19, I had difficulty whenever I went outside because people were wearing masks and due to their mouth covered by opaque masks, I had difficulty in understanding. But again I was fortunate as the people especially shopkeepers were understanding and if I didn’t understand how much the bill was, they would write it down on paper. I was able to manage it because I am able to speak to people.
However, I am also aware of other hearing impaired friends, who couldn’t speak, had way worse than me. Similar problems were also faced by other people with disabilities who were living alone like people using wheelchair, visually impaired persons, etc.
Things that you would like to see in the post COVID-19 society
Nishtha: I would seriously like to see more inclusive society. It is a high time now that society becomes more inclusive. I would like to see the following changes:
- For people needing wheelchair, more ramps are needed, especially at public places like restaurants, offices, etc. The car company should start making wheelchair friendly car like Mahendra & Mahendra made one recently for a well known personality using wheelchair.
- Covid-19 pandemic rendered all the medical facilities inadequate not only in India but also in the so called most advanced countries of the world. I feel there is a need to educate our para medical staff as well as the general public about how to handle a similar pandemic like situation. We need to strengthen our health services.
- A large number of persons with disabilities could not access the routine medical services during Covid times and they especially hearing impaired people faced great difficulties due to this. Online consultations with Doctor through video call and messages can help to handle similar situation in future.
And many many more changes are needed to make society more inclusive for persons with disabilities, underprivileged people and LGBTQ+ people.
- #Inclusive – Theresa Mabe wishes to see commitment to continued involvement of people with disabilities in the society
- #Inclusive – Madeline Stuart talks about lifestyle and mental health disruptions due to COVID-19
- #Inclusive – Prajith Jaipal emphasizes on collective action to build economies that deliver an inclusive growth
- #Inclusive – Brandon Cole shares the positives and the negatives of the pandemic
- #Inclusive – Meryl Evans believes that celebrating differences can make this world a better place
Support us to make NewzHook Sustainable – Make a Contribution Today
We need your continued support to enable us work towards Changing Attitudes towards Disability. Help us in our attempt to share the voices of people with disabilities that enable them to participate in the society on an equal footing!