Smriti Nagpal - Empowering deaf [Atulyakala]

Smriti Nagpal - Empowering deaf [Atulyakala]

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23-year-old becomes the voice of hearing impaired artists

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It is said love has no language. Smriti Nagpal’s two older siblings were hearing impaired. But this did not stop the three of them from communicating their feelings for each other like in any other family. Smriti took it upon herself to learn the sign language to be the voice of her siblings.

At 23, Smriti is the CEO and Founder of Atulyakala, a social enterprise that is empowering deaf artists through design partnership and creative collaborations. “I grew up with two elder siblings who are 10 years older than me. The only way to communicate with them was to learn sign language that sort of became my mother tongue. Learning it was very important for my family since I was the bridge between my parents and my siblings,” says Smriti.

It has been estimated that there are several million hearing impaired in India (between 0.9 and 14 million). Perhaps out of every five hearing impaired in the world one lives in India, making it the country with the largest number of people with this disability. Despite the numbers, there are numerous problems faced by the community. The main one is the lack of education. There are just two ways for them to communicate: writing and sign language. Lack of structure and policies make it difficult for them to learn to write properly.
Smriti was witness to her siblings dealing with these issues, and when she turned 16 she volunteered at the National Association of Deaf (NAD). It was her way to give back to the society. After some years while she was enrolled in her Bachelor of Business Administration, she got a call for an audition in a TV channel. They needed an interpreter of sign language for their news program and Smriti was their choice. So while she was studying, she became responsible for the Hearing Impaired Morning Bulletin for the Doordarshan Network.

This job opened a door to a lot of opportunities which gave her the chance to understand her passion to solve problems in the deaf community. After seven months from her graduation she heard a story which motivated her to take act. “I met a senior artist who had a masters’ degree in art. Unfortunately, he was working in a NGO doing manual work. His talent was completely wasted! I came back home and did some research and knew that I had to do something about helping artists who are hearing impaired. So together with my friend Harshit, I decided to start Atulyakala. That artist who I met at the NGO joined our project,” says Smriti.

Atulyakala is a for-profit social enterprise that is creating opportunities for deaf artists to grow, learn, share and live a life of dignity and pride. They make profit from selling online and offline art pieces done by hearing impaired artists, but they proudly differentiate from other NGOs. “Their creativity is usually kept in a closet. We are giving them freedom to go out of this closet and spread their creativity. And we do that by putting their name in the front. We don’t want to employ deaf artists to empower the name of our brand: we want our brand to empower the name of deaf artists. That’s why they sign every piece they create. We want them to feel that they are creating something on their own,” states Smriti.
AtulyakalaAtulyakala is also involved in other projects. “We are also working in important collaborations. We now have a partnership with famous musicians to write the first song for the deaf community and we are doing the same for illustrations. We work with famous artists to empower deaf artists, and in a few months some of those collaborations will be published,” says Smriti. They do not want to limit their work with only deaf artists, but want to impact the entire deaf community. “We are also raising awareness about sign language. We believe that the change should start with educating the next generation, that’s why we are conducting different workshops in universities. We are also doing a handbook to explain to people the basics of sign language,” adds Smriti.

Even though she spent her entire life with hearing impaired people, Smriti is living a great learning experience. “I know them since very long, but I was not working with them. They were friends and people to hang out with. Now my point of view is different. Working with them I understood that they have an endless potential, but they are not confident about themselves. That is because of the mainstream attitude towards the disabled. People should understand they are not a minority, they are part of the world that cannot be excluded,” states Smriti, adding, “Moreover, now I’m much more patient and less frustrated than before. They just need someone to bridge the gap.”

Atulyakala is a very young startup that started 10 months back, but they have a really clear vision for their future. “We want to have Atulyakala as a social enterprise that sells products made entirely by deaf people. To do this in the best way possible we need to create a strong brand, but obviously it is not just about the brand, but about the artists behind it. Moreover, we want to continue the sensitisation campaign we are running and the collaborations with mainstream artists. This community can’t feel left out anymore,” says Smriti.

Besides receiving a lot of recognition for her work, Smriti had the chance to interpret the Republic Day Parade this year in Indian sign language on national television for the deaf community of India. This was the first such broadcast in 64 years.

Smriti’s words to young changemakers: “Never give up on your dreams. I’m a dreamer. It’s important for people our age to dream and follow our heart. That’s the only thing that can move us forward. It’s our duty to give something back to the community. This will give you so much happiness that you cannot imagine. To do that you don’t have to be a social entrepreneur, you can simply do small things for people and society every day.”

http://social.yourstory.com/2014/02/atulyakala-...

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ज़मीर ज़िंदा रख
कबीर ज़िंदा रख।

सुल्तान भी बन जाए तो
दिल में फ़क़ीर ज़िंदा रख।

लालच डिगा न पाए तुझे
आंखों का नीर ज़िंदा रख।

इन्सानियत सिखाती जो
मन में वो पीर ज़िंदा रख।

हौसले के तरकश में
कोशिश का तीर ज़िंदा रख।

Kudos to her

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@[email protected]_0_0_D wrote:

ज़मीर ज़िंदा रख
कबीर ज़िंदा रख।

सुल्तान भी बन जाए तो
दिल में फ़क़ीर ज़िंदा रख।

लालच डिगा न पाए तुझे
आंखों का नीर ज़िंदा रख।

इन्सानियत सिखाती जो
मन में वो पीर ज़िंदा रख।

हौसले के तरकश में
कोशिश का तीर ज़िंदा रख।

Kudos to her


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To tackle caste panchayats, for the first time, Maharashtra government will introduce a law against social boycott of individuals or families, terming it a crime. A draft titled ’Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Act, 2015’ was published on the government’s website on Wednesday. It has recommended seven years imprisonment or fine of ₹5 lakh or both if proven guilty.
- http://goo.gl/...C9

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An App That Breaks down News into Facts – for UPSC Exam Aspirants and Everyone Else!

Tanaya Singh

This article on using mobile technology for social good is part of the #Mobile4Good series & is made possible by Vodafone India.
Have you ever tried sifting facts from opinion in the news you read today? If you are a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination aspirant, or someone preparing for an exam that requires a strong focus on general knowledge, you will know how hard this is. Here’s an app that solves this problem for those who need news, not views.

“It started with a very odd conversation. I was talking to a friend who was preparing for the civil service exams. He mentioned that the news he reads in India – online and in newspapers – is so full of opinions and the biases of the Left and Right, that it’s very difficult to get the basic facts of a story. And this is a problem for many people who are preparing for entrance examinations where general knowledge is very important,” says 27-year-old Rohit Pande.

Following this conversation, he and his friend, Shikhar Sachan, went ahead and developed an app to help UPSC aspirants and other such students prepare better for their exams.

Civilsdaily news app
Rohit Pande
Civilsdaily is an Android-based mobile application meant for people who consume news as a ‘need’ and not just a ‘want.’

It is basically a collection of flashcards that break down important news – minus the opinions and the jargon – into a fact-based format for people to understand easily.

The Civilsdaily news app
“These days, getting your head around facts is very difficult. You don’t get the context but just a whole lot of opinions. There is a lot of noise. People who read the news need to understand the context in which it occurs. So we started curating news pieces into fact based pointers,” explains Rohit.

Shikhar and Rohit launched their app in March 2015.

Civilsdaily news app
Shikhar Sachan
The idea was simple. News items usually evolve from something that has occurred in the past or needs some kind of context. But most news items in the media do not provide that bit of information, possibly due to space constraints.

There is thus no context for people who actually need to learn something from the news, or even for the public in general.

“What we generally do is that we take the news that is in the day’s paper, cut off all the noise of opinions, bringing it down to factual points, and then post it on the app. Over time, when the theme of the news grows, we link all the related news cards together so that you can connect the dots. Thus, you get all major milestones connected in one single flashcard,” says Rohit.

For example, in the app there is a news card to explain India’s LED light campaign in four simple points. News about Indian birds entering the list of threatened species is explained in just five short and simple points – no views, no quotes, just pure facts.

Rohit is a part of the three-member team working on this app. The team also works with some freelancers who contribute stories.

While Shikhar and Rohit manage the product end of Civilsdaily, Pushpendra and Arun are the backbone of the content team. Satish, a UPSC ranker (AIR 97, 2014) was among the first ones to join in and help shape the vision for the app. Prasenjit brings in his expertise in visual design and is the brain behind the infographics.
The app has been downloaded about 40,000 times to date and is updated every day, along with the Civilsdaily website. About 12-14 new stories come up in a day. Rohit says the conventional source for studying current affairs among most students is newspapers like The Hindu, Jagran, Indian Express, Mint, PIB, etc. So the team members use these sources to find trending news.

Then they curate them into simple facts.

Other than sifting facts from opinions, there is another unique aspect to Civilsdaily. The team also explains the news to people who may be completely uninformed about a particular topic. They do this with the help of infographics.

For example, if someone wants to know all about the India-Africa Forum Summit, he/she just has to click one link to get all the related new cards in one go.

IAFS-infograph
But Rohit does not want this project to remain restricted to the web because this problem extends offline as well. So he wants to take the app to those educators and NGOs who are working with students from low-income families. He is talking to some of these organisations and plans to distribute compilations of new cards from every week in PDF format.

Rohit and his team are based in Delhi. In the past six months, they have received an amazing response from users of the app.

“People are using the app for a daily wrap up of the news. We have plugged a gap and plan to grow more now,” he states.

The team is operating with the help of an initial angel investment that has helped them grow and develop the app further. Rohit is an engineering graduate from IIT Guwahati. After working in a few consulting firms, he quit his job in October 2014 to work on the app.

“Education and technology have not been connected very well in India. So we put our heads together to find out how mobiles can help in solving a problem that needed attention. Our focus was on creating a minimal product that can be adopted easily…we are passionate about the subject and that is all that was needed” he concludes.

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This Billionaire Barber From Bengaluru Arrives In A Rolls Royce To Give Customers A Hair Cut

A barber’s profession is not something one associates with wealth and riches. But there is one barber in Bengaluru who arrives in his ₹3.1 crore Rolls Royce Ghost to give a haircut for just ₹65.

The rags to riches story of G. Ramesh Babu is something right out of a Bollywood movie. Though his earnings are modest, Ramesh Babu also runs a highly-successful car rental business that has turned him into a billionaire barber.

Click here to join World Malayali Club
And as you would’ve guessed, his business clients range from politicians to Bollywood actors such as Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Despite being a successful business man, Ramesh Babu goes to his shop everyday and gives haircuts to his clients.

The reason why Ramesh Babu still works as a barber lies in his humble past. He was just 7 when his father died in 1989, leaving the barber shop as the only means of income. Working at the shop which he later named as Inner Space, he always dreamt of owning a car. So he purchased a Maruti Omni and started renting it out. What began as a passion soon translated into an enormously successful car-rental business.

Today, his fleet consists of around 200 cars, including imported vehicles like Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Mercedes C, E and S class and BMW 5, 6 and 7 series.

Ramesh Babu makes sure that his clients are happy and that the drivers are well-behaved.

The lowest rent for a car that he lets out is ₹1,000 per day and the highest goes up to ₹50,000.
Click here to join World Malayali Club
He always wants to feel connected with his roots and also teaches hair-styling skills to his kids. According to him, "It’s a skill job and they’ll have to learn about it. Till I’m there, and hopefully even after, I’ll make sure the salon is run

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Punam Nagpal
Product Manager at Cisco

You might have met few difficult people in your life. If you want to have positive experience with such people, you must be ready to increase your positivity. I know it is easier to say than done. But here are few tips, which I applied at my work life and in personal life and I am benefited a lot.

1. To have positive experience you need to have positive emotions.
To have positive emotions you have to have positive thoughts. Your thoughts are like seed. If you sow quality thoughts, you will reap quality fruits. And remember fruits don’t appear next day. You need to take good care of that seed by giving water, fertilizer and enough sun light. Relationship is also like that. You need to nurture it with love, care and patience. Never give up because great things take time.

2.Own your Experience.
If you are negative and the person whom you are working with is a negative person, you will a negative experience for sure. If you are a positive person and the person whom you are working with is a positive person, life is good and you will have a positive experience like music in your ears. What kind of experience will you have when you are positive and other person is negative? If you want to have a positive experience your positivity needs to be much more than the negativity of the other person. Your experience depends on you. You don’t have control over the other person but you can certainly have control on yourself and your emotions.

3.Give respect to get respect.
Are we beggar of respect? We generally think if other person didn’t give me respect, why should I give. If I give respect to you, at some point cause and effect, action and reaction is such that respect will be returned. No matter what you have done, if I have continually shown respect, off course balance has to change and respect comes back to me also. Energy is continuously flowing — What you give, what you get. Begin to co-operate with others; others will start to co-operate with you and you will have beautiful relation developed.

4.Let it go.
Every one is unique and wonderful the way they are. Accept them; embrace them as they are instead of finding fault in them, criticizing them. They are doing their job/role, and I need to do mine. By doing this, you won’t get upset with anyone. You will have healthy relationship with whom so ever you meet. If you keep sending away every person who challenges you, you will never grow. Some people are in your life to sharpen you. When you are in conflict with someone, respect other opinion first and then present your opinion. Good feelings and then good communication can resolve 90 % of conflicts. And 10 %, if you don’t agree let it go.

5. What goes around comes around.
If nothing works for you, think I had done something in past and it is coming back to me. Have mercy for the other person. He/She might be in pain for doing such behavior. And you don’t to give him/her more pain by giving negative energy. If you do send negative energy, negative will come back to you and vice verse, so choice is yours. Break this cycle of feeling hurt and giving hurt and only send positive energy. You will have beautiful relationship.

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