Published on: December 23, 2021

Minu A S, Admin Officer, State Facilitation Team, writes:

Pallium India had the privilege of being a part of the Kerala Development Innovation and Strategic Council Job Fair that took place in Thiruvananthapuram on the 18th of December 2021. This was an excellent opportunity for us to raise awareness about palliative care as well as Pallium India’s activities, among a wider audience. More than 100 companies participated in the expo.

(From Left : Mr Vishnu P.R, Regional Coordinator-South, State Facilitation, Mr Kishore Kumar Head-HR, Ms Minu A.S, Admin Officer, State Facilitation, Mr Emil George, Social Officer)

There was an incident that stood out for all of us when one candidate with hearing and speech impairment, Mr Balu, visited our stall. He was finding it difficult to communicate effectively, since no one could understand sign language. He then approached us.

The art of listening is one of the first lessons we learn when we join Pallium India, and it came in handy when listening to his silence.

Mr Balu couldn’t read my lips because of the mask on my face, so I took it off so he could see my lips for lip reading.

That was only partially successful so I wrote on his forearm. His mother, who was worried about how her son would communicate, joined us soon after.

Despite our limited knowledge of sign language, we were able to understand him. A graduate in fine arts, he worked in Bombay as jewel designer. His father, who was the primary breadwinner of the family, was unable to work now due to health issues. It’s important to Balu to be with his parents in their old age and to support them. So he has visited the fair, in the hope of finding a job in Thiruvananthapuram. His younger brother is also specially-abled. His parents had relocated to Thiruvananthapuram from Kollam, in order to provide better education to their children.

This experience drove home a point about inclusivity in our society. The job fair was filled with people who speak so many languages, yet, no one knew Sign Language. A person with speech or hearing impairment has to endure so much difficulty in getting his thoughts across. If only we as a society decide to learn basic sign language so that speech and hearing impaired people could also feel included.

Sharing some art work created by Balu:

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