Finalist gives back after her own struggle

2012-07-11 00:00

KASHVEERA Chanderjith, South Africa’s first deaf chartered accountant, is one of the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year finalists.

Durban-born Chanderjith was nominated by a young woman who she inspired after delivering a speech. Chanderjith has been speaking in public since she was eight even though doctors were certain that she would never be able to speak or even grasp language.

“It is a challenge in itself to learn to speak when you have no knowledge of how a word even sounds,” she said.

The 25-year-old cannot emphasise enough the role her parents have played in her success.

“I have my parents to credit for the enormous strength and fortitude that I possess, because it was through them that I have managed to sustain through many battles, many hardships and still triumph,” she said.

It was her parents who taught her the “Aural-Oral method of communication”, which involves learning to talk and communicate by lipreading, talking and comprehending facial expressions.

Chanderjith noted that in an attempt to learn to speak she lost out on her childhood.

“It was hard in the beginning to accept that I am different,” she said.

She also faced mockery and discrimination, but still wanted to see the good in everyone and transformed the pain she felt into her strength.

“There was this constant human rights battle … My struggle for inclusiveness is far from over; overcoming barriers was part of the journey.”

Coming from a middle-class home, Chanderjith realised the importance of community service at a young age. She has been involved in numerous projects in Durban, particularly ones focused on education.

“I come from a family of educators and I understand the paramount importance and benefit of sound education.

“My learning was a bit of a challenge, but I always rose up to it by working twice as hard,” Chanderjith said of her education.

The hard work paid off because Chanderjith became UKZN’s first deaf graduate in 2007 and now works for Anglo American.

“I know I am different by design, but that hasn’t stopped me from walking a path that is different and setting the bar so that others can rise up and aspire for their dreams too.”

Chanderjith, who is nominated in the Young Movers category, would like to see herself in a position that influences change in the future.

“This award would be a tribute to the selfless nature of the hundreds of people that I have worked among,” Chanderjith said.

The winnings would go to starting a centre for HIV/Aids, woman abuse and substance abuse in a community centre that she previously helped to establish.

“Above all, the greatest winning I could ever ask for, is the promulgation of deaf awareness to the broader society and this is spread through my life, my profession and through my community work,” she said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.