Anurag Tripathi is 23-years old and ever-smiling. He works as a waiter at Lemon Tree Hotels in Gurgaon and is very satisfied with his job. Tripathi is also hearing impaired and mute. But while he may not be able to hear what customers are saying, it doesn’t stop him from doing his job.
More and more hearing-impaired people like Tripathi are finding employment in the hospitality sector, thanks to NGOs and institutes dedicated to training them in basic computer skills, English and sign language. “All our trainings are market-aligned and are developed in such a way that they take these kids eventually to sustainable employment,” says Ruma Roka, Founder, Noida Deaf Society, an NGO that trains hearing-impaired people.
These institutes, besides teaching them basic skills which help them find jobs, also provides a support system that is essential for the hearing impaired.
“Even if you got your training, if you try to apply for jobs yourself, it is very difficult. But at NDS, the organization is helping us with the entire process,” says Pavan Kumar, a student at NDS.
At least some recruiters think the hearing impaired may actually be more productive than others.
“Because of their so-called disability, they tend to be very smart to be on par with the rest of the staff. Unless you speak to them you can’t say they are hearing-impaired. While the rest of the staff sometimes tend to waste chatting with other colleagues or over phone, these people are dedicated and focused,” says R Hari, General Manager, Human Resources, Lemon Tree Hotel Company.