Author/s

Dan Steadman

Meet Indra Rizal

All of us at ezispeak are incredibly proud of the thousands of interpreters who work with us across Australia and New Zealand. Today we look at Indra Rizal, who has a truly remarkable story to share; one that is a testament to the human spirit.

I was born in a very remote and poor village in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. As health and educational facilities were more or less inaccessible to the majority of the population in that district, going to a public school was extremely difficult. Poverty was another rampant factor preventing the majority to have required childhood immunisations and attain the necessary health checks. For me, this was a larger problem as I was born without sight.

My early life was full of hardships and medical problems such as epilepsy, vitamin A deficiency and measles. As a result of my prolonged illness, I became permanently blind, and furthermore due to the lack of medical facilities, my mother passed away when I was just four years old.

Although I was blind, my dad and grandma took very good care of me until I entered into a special school for the blind people in Eastern Bhutan when I was 8. However the political situation in Bhutan meant that I left with my family to Nepal when I was 12. Living as a refugee, it wasn’t until I was 29 when I was able to enter Australia via a humanitarian visa.

While in refugee camps, I volunteered to help special students, and helped many students and teachers learn braille, which helped drive my passion for helping those who most need it. Since 2013 I’ve been working as an interpreter, and in 2017 I relocated with my wife and three children to Cairns to help the local Nepalese and Bhutanese communities.

Interpreting is all about understanding the needs of people from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. To be an interpreter, one needs to be resilient, patient, motivated and empathetic. I love helping the helpless at all levels of life.

In today’s world, people need to understand that interpreting is an essential service. People should be aware that without interpreters, smooth administrative and mechanical operation of the society is impossible. Interpreters deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and honour, and interpreting as a profession should be valued as an integral part of any society.

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