J.S.K. RAO (17th February 1967 – 24th November 2001)
The year 1991 heralded a new beginning for the Deaf community in Andhra Pradesh. It was then that J.S.K. Rao, (also known as Anil) a person whose heart was on fire for the cause of the Deaf, befriended 12 deaf teenagers and began building them up as leaders to do great work in future.
J.S.K Rao was very instrumental in helping these young leaders believe in themselves. He brought them hope, inspiration, friendship and most of all love. He helped them be transformed from withdrawn and unconfident young people into the dynamic, caring and inspiring persons they are today.
J.S.K Rao is known for initiating the grassroots level Empowerment Program using Sign Language as a language medium. Through his appointment to the Rehabilitation Council of India Committee on the Hearing Impaired he brought a lot of pertinent issues related to the Deaf community to light. Following his untiring efforts Sign Language was finally accepted as a natural language of the Deaf in India. He encouraged the Deaf to learn computers and become self reliant. His vision was one of a totally empowered, self reliant and aware Deaf community.
Though their mentor passed away in the year 2001, the young leaders he developed continued working for their cause in various organizations and today they are at the forefront as leaders helping others find empowerment and fulfillment as individuals and as a community.
THE MAKING OF THE DEAF ENABLED FOUNDATION.
In 2009 these Deaf leaders felt the need to start an organization of their own, which was by the Deaf, for the Deaf and of the Deaf. They felt the need to increase the focus of their work on three areas especially:
Advocacy for the Deaf.
Public Awareness of the Deaf.
Empowering and Cultivating a thriving Deaf Community.
It was through the re-orientation and specification of their focus that the Deaf Enabled Foundation was born.
These members have been keeping in touch with other friends who were mentored by J.S.K Rao. They have now come together to be a part of the Core Team of the Deaf Enabled Foundation.
Since the Inception of Deaf Enabled Foundation, our Deaf leaders and co-founders have gone on to accomplish great things and become great mentors themselves. Including the founding of a social enterprise for the Deaf and becoming the first plenary speaker from India to speak at the World Federation of the Deaf Congress.