K. Murali of Deaf Leaders is the first hearing impaired person to win the Best Social Worker Award in Tamil Nadu
K. Murali’s expression bears a mixture of surprise and excitement. He has just returned after bagging the Best Social Worker award from the Chief Minister in Chennai and is still overwhelmed by the experience.
Speaking through an interpreter, Murali says that winning the award was a pleasant surprise. “I did not expect to win this award, since I was pitted against more than a hundred other applicants from all over the state. But this will serve as a great boost for me to expand my training institute,” he says. The Deaf Leaders Institute which is located in Sai Baba Colony gives the hearing impaired training in English, Tamil and History apart from training them in tailoring, cooking and computers. Currently operating out of a rented building, Murali plans to shift to his own building which will have a boarding facility for children from remote villages.
He hopes that Government colleges will introduce sign language as part of their curriculum. Murali has also directed and edited a short love story, The Silent Song, which was adjudged the best film at the International Deaf Conference in 2012 at New Delhi.
“I would like to help hearing impaired children get a good education right from the start and train them till they are employed,” he says. The job training provided by Deaf Leaders has already helped a group of hearing impaired youngsters work at a café at Lifespring Fitness Centre in Avinashi Road. Another group has been cooking and serving food to I.T. professionals in P.N. Palayam. Plans are afoot to setup more canteens in the city for the hearing impaired. Deaf Leaders organised a job fair last October through which 220 people with disabilities were placed in various sectors.
Murali is now applying for a National Award. “If you are honest and hard working, no disability can stop you from achieving what you want to,” he says.