Connecting is just a sign away!
SignKraft was conceputalised during a chance visit to a Mumbai-based restaurant that employs staff with hearing and speech impairments to serve its patrons. Despite our efforts to use sign language with the help of an introductory orientation and handy ready reckoner of gestures, we struggled to communicate with the staff. We realised the significant barriers to integration and communication faced by this community of hearing and speech impaired. This incident struck as a trigger to do something using our technical skills for the impaired community to advance their integration and inclusion.
Deafness is the third most prevalent impairment, with over 5% prevalence across the globe and a 6.3% prevalence in India
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, over 430 million people suffer hearing loss worldwide, out of which India is home to 63 million. These individuals are routinely subjected to little or no social interaction and poor education and employment rates. There are over 300 sign languages around the world to help the deaf communicate. However, there is minimal education and training for people to learn these languages. Today a whopping 75% of US parents with children who are deaf or hard of hearing can't sign fluently. The statistic in less developed countries like India is even more disturbing. If even the parents of the impaired have not been trained in formal sign languages - one can imagine the abyss of disconnection staring those with hearing and speech impairments. Indian Sign Language (ISL) has been developed for the benefit of the deaf community in India. The government is working to spread awareness and training of ISL and has released several video dictionaries to increase awareness and promote its usage for the benefit of the deaf community. The library contains over 10,000 words with multiple variations of each sign, a total of between 30,000 and 50,000 signs. In September 2022, PM Shri Narendra Modi announced the inclusion of ISL as a part of the school curriculum. However, its prevalence in a formal learning environment is yet limited. We felt that it is imperative to create tools for smooth communication for the deaf to ensure inclusiveness and limit inequalities.
SDG 10: Reducing inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind are integral to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
Too much of the world’s wealth is held by a very small group of people. This often leads to financial and social discrimination. In order for nations to flourish, equality and prosperity must be available to everyone. When every individual is self-sufficient, the entire world prospers.
Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.
SignKraft endeavors to help achieve SDG 10.2 by providing opportunities for socio-economic inclusion and equity for the speech and hearing imparied community.