Meera C. Bhatia is one of three siblings born to Speech and Hearing Impaired parents. Her Father, Mr. Suraj Prakash Kanchanbaras was the Treasurer for All India Federation for Deaf (AIFD) and the President for Silent Sports Promotion Society for deaf. He was the captain of the deaf cricket team of India under All India Sports Council for Deaf. He was former General Secretary , All India Sports Council of the Deaf from 1984 to 1992. Her Mother, Late Mrs. Mohini Kanchanbaras was the executive member and Cutting and Tailoring Instructor at Delhi Association of Deaf (DAD) and was a trainer at All India Federation for Deaf. She worked as a battick and book binding trainer and manufacturer at Delhi Foundation for Deaf Women. Consequently, she received the National Award as the Role Model Employee PwD in 1997.
Drawing inspirations from her parents, Meera started working as an Indian Sign Language Interpreter at the age of 16 years and worked for various organizations like the Delhi Association of Deaf, Delhi Foundation for Deaf Women, All India Federation of Deaf, National Association of Deaf and All India Sports Council of Deaf. In 1994 she began working as News Anchor in Sign Language for the Hearing Impaired at DD News (National Network) and played an instrumental role in policy advocacy which led to the weekly bulletin being converted into a daily news show which now runs successfully. She continues to be the senior news reader here. In 2007 she interpretedall the travel instructions for the hearing impaired travellers for Air India Airlines which is played in all international flights till date. Spearheading the fight for news accessibility for the deaf, since 2014 she has been interpreting all nationally significant telecasts such as Republic Day Parade, Independence Day, Teachers Day, Oath Taking Ceremony and other such events.
After a tryst with life as a Computer Science Teacher in Modern Barakhamba school, Meera finally acted upon her lifelong calling and foundedSai Swayam Society for the Speech and Hearing Impairedin 2006 at the age of 36 years.
In 2010 Meera received the Helen Keller award by NCPEDas the Best Placement Officer for PwDs. She was honoured with the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Best Placement Officer)bythe President of India in 2014. For her experience and contribution to the field of ISL in India, she was awarded the Jazbaa Award for Excellence in Indian Sign Languageby the Minister of Minority Affairs in 2016.
Being raised by deaf parents and growing up as a voice for their community, Meera has a lifetime of learnings and experience of the issues and solutions for them. An experience of 36 years as an interpreter and activist, along with a professional experience of 11 years as the founder of an organisation dedicated to empowering the community is what she brings to any forum for People with Disabilities.
Recognising this, she has been actively involved in policy advocacy and formulation with the Department of People with Disabilities (MSJE) -
• Committee Member, Empanelmentas Skill Training Partner (PwDs) under the NationalAction Plan (DEPwD, MSJE)
• Committee Member, Task Force for the Early Intervention and Parent Sensitization for Deaf individuals
• Selection Committee Member, National Awards for PwDs 2016
• Committee Member, Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre
For the certification of SODA and CODA
Meera wishes to revolutionise the world for the deaf and mute through efforts of school empowerment, skill training, employment opportunities, awareness generation, ISL workshops, policy advocacy and policy formulation. Attempting to use all her experience, knowledge and passion she hopes to create an inclusive and better world for Persons with Disabilities.