Rima Prajapati with daughters (from left) Jhoti, Aarti and Sangeeta. Jhoti and Aarti were both born deaf. Rima moved her daughters from their village to Mumbai so they could attend a school for the deaf. Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni for NPR hide caption
toggle caption Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni for NPR
In a country with over 28 national languages, Jhoti Prajapati did not speak at all. Her family, who lived in an Indian village in Maharashtra, was worried. When the child turned 3, her mother Rima took her to a doctor and got an explanation for the silence: Jhoti was born deaf.
The idea for this story was submitted as part of The Untold Global Health Story Contest, sponsored by CUGH, NPR’s Goats and Soda blog and Global Health NOW of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The contest is designed to give a platform to important but underreported global health stories. The story was proposed by Christi Batamula, an assistant professor at Gallaudet University, and by Matthew Yau, a Bachelor of Health Sciences student from McMaster University.
The diagnosis spurred Rima into action. For two years, she