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Making a future for Dora

Photo: I feel much more confident and relaxed

To look at Dora (23) confidently measuring a customer for a dress, then neatly writing down the numbers, you’d never guess she’d not been to school.

Diagnosed as deaf aged five, Dora stayed home with nobody to talk to. Her family didn’t know how to help and couldn’t communicate with her except with local sign language. Dora couldn’t read, write her name and didn’t even know her address. Nobody in her community talked to her, many called her names. Dora felt sad and isolated. Her parents felt hopeless and couldn’t see a future for her.

Then two years ago, our partner project LIPICA stepped in. Every week, Dora and her mother received training and support from a community worker who set up a plan for her. The community worker, and others from LIPICA, taught Dora and her family Indian Sign Language (ISL). They also taught Dora how to read and write, and basic maths skills needed for the vocational training they gave her in tailoring.

Now Dora earns income from her tailoring business and is confident about the future. Before, when her family believed there was no future for her, she might not have felt she could refuse marriage offers.

"I feel much more confident and relaxed,” says Dora. “I know numbers up to 100, so I can measure for tailoring. My mother thought deafness was a curse. Then my mother started to say, 'do not call her that', and now they all use my name. Neighbours come to me and express what they want for the clothes and I can do anything.

"If I see a deaf young person at home, I will say you shouldn’t be at home. I encourage them and show them my activities and success, and trust will increase."

We’ve teamed up with Lower Income People’s Involvement for Community Action (LIPICA) to support deaf children and young people in remote villages of Ganjam district, India, where they face extreme isolation. 

Meet Dora