A Cleaning and beautification company in Mumbai, which employs deaf and mute people, is making an attempt to change social perceptions that those who cannot hear or speak are handicapped and need charity to survive. In a bid to empower deaf and mute people, who are unable to get employed due to social stigmas, Indian Beautification, a private company located in Andheri, has been recruiting such people and training them.
Established on June 9, 2013, the company at present has 15 employees, of which nine people, who are deaf and mute, are part of the company’s core team.
Founder Nitin Kumar (33), who holds a degree in English literature followed by a post-graduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism, does not approve of the term ‘disabled’ for his colleagues. “I believe they are just differently-abled. They are great on the job. There are hardly any opportunities for these people, though they are incredibly honest and hardworking,” said Kumar
Recalling the incident that was a game-changer in his life, Kumar said, “One day, when I was out for a walk in my colony, I saw garbage strewn around in the vicinity. Trees and compound walls were not properly maintained and the stench in the area was intolerable. I went home, grabbed a broom and began to clean our compound. Looking at me, a few others also joined. After that day, I wanted to start an initiative to clean and beautify our surroundings. I also wanted to educate people on waste management. Hence, I started India Beautification.”
The idea to recruit deaf and mute candidates for the job was conceived as it is something which does not require much verbal communication with the customer. Kumar, however, communicates with his colleagues sometimes through sign languages, but mostly through text messages. He pays the nine employees Rs 8,000 per month.
Anand Gupta, committee member of Silver Sand housing society at Andheri, said, “Kumar is giving back to society through his project. His team is very passionate about the project. The idea to help deaf and mute youth by employing them is unique.”
Rinku Appalwar, chief financial officer of Emmbi Industries Limited, Andheri, said more people could take inspiration from the initiative and employ people who were differently-abled.