With Every Year of their Hear+Art Project, the social enterprise Atulyakala tries to move a step closer towards bridging the gap between the hearing impaired communities. At its fifth edition this year held at The National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy, Pragati Maidan, on Saturday, saw the participation of this community in various activities.
Atulyakala founder Amriti Nagpal says, “Since, we do it every year around Valentine’s Day, we named it Heart project but we played with the words and divided it into ‘Hear’ and ‘Art’, as there are many art activities.”
Largely, college students, hearing impaired artists, teachers, professionals and schools students were a part of the event. “Though we got a mix of all forms of disabilities, our focus was on keeping sign language and inclusion as the core of it,” says the 29-year-old, who used to be a TV presenter for sign language bulletins.
In one activity, the hearing impaired were given large canvases to express their idea of inclusion through paint, and how it feels walk along with everybody else. “This activity gave them a chance to communicate and understand each others’ thought process,” says Nagpal, who studied Social Innovation from London School of Economics.
Nagpal was motivated to work for the hearing impaired because of the disability of her elder siblings. “They were not deaf by birth. My brother lost the ability to hear at age nine after an accident, and my sister lost hers after a very high fever when she was just six months old. Despite having the right degrees, the deaf are not able to get good job opportunities.”
This was when she founded Atulyakala in 2013 to create employment opportunities for them. Now, Atulaykala has a group of deaf people, who create merchandise that helps them earn for themselves.
“Working with the deaf is the ethos of our company. But the Heart Project was started when I met a few college students, who were studying with deaf students but there was no communication between them. Hear+Art Project helped them make friends.”