Devangi Dalal, 50, a resident of Mumbai, is an ‘audiologist and speech therapist’ by profession. In 1991, she completed her degree from Nair Hospital in the city and since then, she has been working in this field (Health Care Services). She helps people who cannot hear. He says that some people with disabilities have some hearing impairment. If such people are helped with the right technology at the right time, they will not only be able to hear but will also be able to speak. Therefore, she not only makes people aware of this but is also spreading technology to many children.
In order to extend his work to the ground level, he started the ‘Josh Foundation’ in 2004 with an ENT surgeon, Dr. Jayant Gandhi. Whose full name is ‘Juvenile Organization of Speech and Hearing’. Through his organization, he has given many children the ability to listen and speak. She is still continuously engaged in her efforts. Talking to The Better India, he elaborated on his journey.
Started the Josh Foundation:
Talking about the start of the Josh Foundation, she says that in 2004, she went to Denmark to attend an international conference. Where discussions about the testing of newborns were going on. There, he was asked that how many such newborns are examined in India, in which the disease or deficiencies that are present from birth can be detected? She says, “I had no answer to this question. I went back and talked to the doctors about this, but came to know that it is difficult to do so. Because, there are many myths among people. For example, it is believed that if the child does not have the ability to hear from birth or is very less, it may have happened due to a mistake, which occurred during delivery. ”
Dewangi spoke to ENT surgeon Dr. Gandhi on this subject, with whom she has been working in this field for the past 30 years. He told Dr. Gandhi that in order to bring awareness in this area and reach as many needy people as possible, they should do something. After much deliberation, the two started the ‘Josh Foundation’ together in 2004. Through this foundation, they are not only working on the diagnosis of this problem but in addition to providing the right technology to the needy people, they also help in their full development.
He started it with a very small fund and made contact with special schools for differently-abled children. The children they could help in these schools started providing ‘Digital Hearing Aid’ free of cost to them as per their need. Today he is working with around 12 special schools and general schools in Mumbai. They help people with disabilities aged 1–20 years.
She points out that there are many myths about hearing aid as well – such as these contain only ‘amplifiers’ and can be distributed by purchasing them in large numbers. Therefore, many Lion and Rotary Club members even asked him why he used expensive digital hearing aids. Dewangi says, “But we have proven that it is more effective if children are given the right digital technology according to their needs. The children we helped are doing well in their lives today. Therefore, it has now become easier to convince corporate companies, Lion and Rotary Clubs and others for funding as well. ”
The Josh Foundation not only provides ‘Digital Hearing Aid’ for free but also gives these children a chance to hone their skills and show the world. The Foundation helps children from 12th grade onwards to study further and build a better career. The Foundation also runs ‘Robotics Class’ and ‘Personality Development Class’ to help. There are many other events organized by the Foundation from time to time, where these children show their talent.
Dr. Gandhi says, “Every human being is equal and irrespective of any distortion, we should treat everyone equally. Also, I firmly believe that they do not need sympathy or kindness. The Josh Foundation believes that if rehabilitation programs and high-tech medical technology work together, the situation can be improved to a great extent. ” The Josh Foundation has, so far, helped over 1300 children.
50-year-old Ranakant Shukla, who lives in Mumbai, says, “When my daughter turned four, we came to know that she could not hear.” Originally we are from a region near Banaras in Uttar Pradesh. But, there was no facility for the daughter’s treatment, so we moved to Mumbai. Here we enrolled him in a special school. For many years, we used different machines for it, but to no avail. We are middle-class people and, therefore, could not afford to buy very expensive Hi-Fi machines. ”
Shukla works in the sales department of a textile factory in Mumbai itself. At the moment, his daughter is 16 years old and studying in the 10th grade. He reported that about one-and-a-half years ago, he came to know about the Josh Foundation. He approached her and told her about her daughter. He further said, “In January this year, Devangi Ji got my daughter installed ‘Hearing Aid’ and got very good results in two-three months. Now she is able to hear well and has even started speaking a little bit. We hope that she will pass the Class 10 exam well and after that, we will get her enrolled in a normal school. Our aim is to raise our daughter to her feet by teaching and writing well and to fulfill this dream of ours, Josh Foundation has a big contribution. ”
Devangi Dalal has received honours not only in India but also internationally for this work. She was the first Indian to receive the ‘Humanitarian Award’ from the American Academy of Audiology in 2012. In addition, she was the youngest member to be appointed to the ‘Indian Speech-Language and Hearing Association’. He has recently been appointed as the National Coordinator for Private Practitioners of Audiology in India. She is the first Indian ‘Hearing Health Advocate’ of the ‘Coalition for Global Hearing Health’ (CGHH), working with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Along with this, he has written three books in English, Gujarati and, – ‘Spreading Positivity’ (English), ‘Chalo Badhirone Sambhalata Karye’ (Gujarati) and ‘Kuch Suna Aapne’ (,) on this subject. In addition, he has also given the first ‘learning module’ from India at the American Academy of Audiology, titled “A roadmap to the independence of hearing-impaired children in developing countries _ India as a role model”
Dewangi believes that if more and more people join their campaigns, more children can be helped. She says that first of all, there is a need to spread awareness in communities where people with poor hearing ability do not understand the problems of the children.
Along with being an audiologist and speech therapist, she is also a researcher and based on her research, she states, “There are about 6.3% of people in the country who cannot hear and have about 40% of children. If we pay attention to the ability of the children to listen at an early age and by providing proper support to them, then many children will be able to lead a normal life. But, we all need to work together on this. ”
In the end, she says that she still has a long way to go and, therefore, she always appeals to people for suggestions and help. If you want to help disabled children around you, you can contact Josh Foundation for more information. For this, you can email Devangi Dalal at email@example.com.