Ruma Roka is a graduate from Delhi University. A restless home maker aspiring to find her mission in life, she nurtured a dream of running a school one day for special ability children. The dream took inspired her to learn sign language at the AIJNIHH(National Institute for the Hearing impaired) She has no deaf people in her family and had never been exposed to the deaf world before. Learning sign language opened up her life to a community that had been sidelined for years from education and employment.
Later, with the money from a matured insurance policy and a small two bedroom apartment belonging to her husband, she founded the not- for- profit NGO Noida Deaf Society in 2005. Her mission was to train and build skills in deaf youth so that they can get employed and become a value add to our society thereby leading lives of dignity and hope.. The organization started with just 5 students with her as the single teacher teaching the students how to communicate in English in the written form.
Today NDS has 5 centers in three states of India –Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Noida and .is impacting more than 1500 deaf youth every year who are coming from across the country and has facilitated employment in for over 500 deaf in top organizations in the country.
Ruma has won recognition for these efforts and has been covered by major news papers and magazines in Delhi. Earlier she was chosen to interpret for the speech of Mr. Abdul Kalam former president of India for the deaf at the National Awards Ceremony held on World Disabiilty Day for two consecutive years. (2006 and 2007). She has been holding workshops on sign language and creating awareness about the deaf community in mainstream schools like Sardar Patel Vidhalaya and has taught deaf school children in special schools like Amarjyoti Rehabilitation School. She also represented the deaf cause at various forums in the country, speaking about the abilities and challenges that deaf people face in India. She was also selected to interpret for the Indian Deaf Team at the International Abylimpics held in Japan in the year 2007.
Her organization went on to bag the prestigious NCPEDP Shell Helen Keller Award in the year 2008, for the exemplary work that it has been doing with the deaf community. In 2010 she was honored by the channel IBN7 as a community ‘Idol Maker’ for her work with this much marginalized community.