By Mushtaq Bhat
Srinagar, Aug, 28 : Born in a family where few members had speech and other impairments, Arwa Imtiyaz grew up learning the sign languages especially by deciphering the signs of her mother.
When Arwa was a child she faced immense difficulty to communicate with her specially abled mother.
However, Arwa would often ask her father to help her understand her mother’s sign language which she learnt as she grew up.
Arwa, now 18-year-old, fully understands the language of deaf and dumb and has become a voice of voiceless as she is their translator.
She joined All Jammu and Kashmir Deaf and Dumb Association only to be a translator for them.
“Four members of my family have speech impairment. My uncle is a sportsperson with speech and hearing impairment but that didn’t stop him from reaching hundreds of players and helping them in communicating with others. I also joined him. I had just one thought in mind that I should be of any help to them.”
She recalls how her mother was struggling to convey a single word.
“I would try to decipher her signs but would never understand it though my father helped a lot. Now I can understand the signs and I want to be a translator for others also who have the same speech impairment.”
Arwa has now become a voice to those players who can’t speak or hear by working with All Jammu and Kashmir Deaf and Dumb Association. The association has also tied up with government and takes part in different tournament for deaf and dumb.
They have also affiliated with deaf council of India.
She came into limelight after she was part of hearing and speech impaired badminton players.
After this tournament, which she calls a success, she accompanied the differently abled players to different parts of the country for they needed her to communicate with organisers and the general public.
“I have taken up this on my shoulders to help these players. Though it may cost my studies and time, I’m ready to sacrifice it all.”
Arwa says she understands what trouble these people undergo in their lives.
Though she has gained skill in sign language, Arwa wishes to learn it formally.
“I am planning to pursue a course in sign language from Indian Institute of Sign languages to understand the basics of the language and gain expertise.”
The journalist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile number 7006834934