A TECHNOLOGY STARTUP TO ASSIST THE DIFFERENTLY ABLED
Touted as India’s first educational technology startup for the deaf, Digital Arts Academy for the Deaf (DAAD) builds enablers to mainstream them
The best products across industries are those conceptualised and designed by people with experiential exposure to client-side preferences. Now this is exactly why one should sit up and take note of a young woman and her two associates who have launched what is touted as India’s first educational technology startup for the deaf.
We are talking about Remya Raj, the enigmatic visionary who along with her friends, Sulu Naushad and Abey James, set up the Digital Arts Academy for the Deaf (DAAD), currently an incubatee at Technopark.
According to reliable statistics an estimated 18 million or around 1 per cent of Indians are ‘hearing impaired’. What Remya and her team does is to build enablers to help mainstream this large section of human resources.
Having waded through the waters herself, Remya, who was born deaf, had built a career for herself in the technology sector and was working as a business analyst when she had a higher calling. Teaming up with Sulu, who is also deaf and Abel, they mooted DAAD to the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) which, in turn, offered them a place in its shared technology co-working space.
DAAD was set up in December 2018 and was launched officially a month later, in January 2019. According to Remya, the company bootstrapped and a seed funding of Rs. 1 lakh from KSUM was what gave them a breather. DAAD’s technology space is buzzing with ideas and according to the founders, there will soon be an array of products available on their website followed by a mobile app for youngsters who are deaf or have a cochlear implant.
“Our target clients are in the age group of 18 to 35,” said Remya talking to Destination Kerala. “The courses will be designed in such a way that there will be free-access basic courses and advanced courses which people can choose and join after a stipulated payment,” she said.
The courses will be designed to close a skill gap and enable the deaf youths to find jobs by making them more employable, said Remya. “The company will award candidates certificates upon successful completion of the course,” she said.
According to Remya, who is also the CEO of the company, DAAD will roll out its first product in October and is going to give photoshop lessons to the deaf learners through videos in video sign language. The videos will also have voice over and visualisations for a better learning experience.
The company aims to incorporate learning materials in natural sign language, Indian sign language and context-translated sign language with English subtitles and will work on a subscription-per-course model.