Editor’s Note: This article is a part of #YoungWarrior, a pan-India movement led by the young people of India and an initiative by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), YuWaah, UNICEF India and partners across the Public & Private sectors, UN bodies and CSOs. Partaking in this movement, young people have taken centre-stage during the COVID-19 pandemic to lead the country from the front, through positive tools such civic action, mental health, skilling and community welfare. Gearing towards the upcoming International Youth Day on 12th August, 2021, join us in recognizing and celebrating the inspiring stories of these young warriors and share your story on how you’ve been a shining young warrior in these times too!
Mandar Adavikar was born with partial speech and hearing impairment, and through hearing aids, he deals better with this impediment.
He is proficient in Indian Sign language, which he uses to communicate in Marathi and English. One of the most challenging moments in his life was when he was in the 10th standard.
His mother—who too has speech and hearing impairment—was diagnosed with cancer. He had to drop out of school and start working to fund the expensive medical treatment. Mandar, who lost his father at a very young age, became the family’s sole bread earner.
“I vowed to be with and support my mother in every situation, and thus taking up a job at a young age was essential for me,” he says.
In 2020, while working as a driver, Mandar faced a significant setback when the company he worked for closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
Fortunately, he came across Ajay, an interpreter with Youth4jobs (Y4J), through a Facebook post advertising jobs for the deaf and hard of hearing. With the support of Y4J, he attended an interview drive at Flipkart and got selected for the warehouse associate position with a better salary.
“I feel fortunate to have landed this position at a time where there is a dearth of opportunity; my perseverance has paid off,” he states.
An employer’s commitment towards its employees and enabling work culture is something Mandar has never experienced before. He was fired from his job previously because of the frequent leaves taken to tend to his ailing mother. Due to this, he was scared to share his situation with his new employer.
To his surprise, at Flipkart, he was allotted timely leaves for hospital visits and encouraged to discuss his hearing limitation with his supervisors.
Because of his proficiency in Indian sign language and ability to lip read, Mandar is an interpreter and mediator for candidates with speech and hearing impairment.
This position also enables him to resolve issues or queries within the Flipkart team and allow an accessible flow of communication.
Mandar can now work and continue providing for his family. He says, “I have overcome numerous challenges in my life, but I have never lost my can-do attitude and unyielding spirit.”
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