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The Connector for the Future

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Smriti Nagpal:

Weren’t you lost when you were 23? When you just got out of university and it was mandatory to subscribe to your or someone else’s dream. When you had to put an end to your aimless flounders and leap over to consistency and certainty. When you didn’t know what was coming next...

Unlike most of us, Smriti Nagpal realised her passions very early on in her life. She made it to BBC’s list of 100 inspirational women under 25 as the CEO of Atulyakala; a social enterprise that is empowering deaf artists through design partnership and creative collaborations. All this when she was just 23.
How she got here is a inspiring story.

‘I grew up with two elder siblings who are ten years older than me. They suffered from hearing loss. So, 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..’ At 16, Smriti took it upon herself to be the voice of her siblings by learning the sign language.

It is estimated that India has the largest population of deaf in the world. Perhaps every nine out of ten children born in India suffer from hearing impediment. Other than the numbers, there are copious problems faced by the community. The foremost being the lack of basic education. There are just two ways of communicating with them; writing and sign language. Lack of structure and policies make it difficult for them to learn to write properly. Smriti witnessed her siblings tackling similar issues. Thereafter she volunteered at the National Association of Deaf to give back to the society. A couple of years later, when she was enrolled at a Business course in Delhi, she landed herself a TV audition for an interpreter of a news program. Couple of months down the line, a 21-year-old was at the helm of the Hearing Impaired Morning Bulletin on the Doordarshan Network.

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