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Karachi woman helps people with hearing disabilities be heard

Pakistan’s hearing-impaired individuals face many challenges in realising their potential due to their difficulty in finding good education and jobs.

Karachi’s Shazia Gulzar has taken the step to help people with hearing disabilities in Karachi fulfill their dreams.

“We need to create awareness so that schools and employers can change their attitude towards the deaf,” Shazia said on SAMAA TV’s morning show Naya Din on Tuesday.

Shazia went on to say that these individuals deserve to have a proper education, vocational training opportunities and decent-paying jobs. “All organisations should have sign language interpreters,” she said, adding that it will help the hearing-impaired communicate in a better manner.

Parents should take their child with hearing loss to a deaf consultant at an early age, she suggested. “They need to socialise and not feel like outcasts otherwise they will get lonely and lose hope.”

Emphasising the importance of creating awareness about specialists and doctors, she explained that parents should take their children to professionals who can help them understand their condition.

Shazia can relate to their disabilities because she went through a similar experience, having suffered minor hearing loss due to typhoid at the age of eight.

“Most people didn’t understand I had a problem because I was not deaf,” she says. “I asked people to speak louder and tried to read their lip movements to understand what they were saying.”

Shazia felt incomplete because she couldn’t communicate with ease. However, Gulzar soon realised that instead of feeling hopeless, she needed to do something to change things.

She started teaching sign language and made a learning guide for teachers who train people with disabilities. “It is a manual for teachers so that dumb and deaf children can learn and understand better.”

The guide includes teaching techniques and tricks on how to understand the emotions of someone with a hearing disability. Shazia also stressed the need to create better learning tools for people with special needs so that don’t feel like a marginalised part of the community.

Shazia is the founder of the Zar Gul Sha Institute for Deaf Learning.

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