Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From India to Italy

Photo credit: Kishore Bisht

Originally from Uttrakhand, a small Indian state near the Himalayas, Kishore Bisht currently lives in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi. He moved around a lot growing up as his father worked for the government. A mechanical engineer by training, Kishore, recently spent two years in Milan, Italy, working for a power sector company. Now 25, Kishore says he always felt challenged by speaking situations.

“It felt like someone has ripped off your clothes in the middle of a crowd,” he said about speaking to family, answering roll-call in class or engaging with colleagues.

When he first learned that he was moving to Italy, Kishore was excited but also nervous at having to learn a new language and speak to new people. He had previously visited self-help groups in New Delhi and hoped to continue this engagement in Italy. Initially, he found speaking easier; he had to slow the pace of his speech so colleagues who weren’t fluent in English could understand him and because he was just learning Italian. But as his responsibilities at work increased, his fluency decreased. He sought therapy and looked to engage with other people who stammered but didn’t have much luck. It was at this time that he first discovered Stutter Social from a Facebook group.

Without an in-person social support group in Italy, he says he uses Stutter Social as a virtual alternative. He enjoys participating in hangouts because he gets to meet new people, many of whom speak different languages. He is able to share his speaking experiences and consult with others on how to approach speaking situations.

Beyond Stutter Social, Kishore also attended the McGuire Programme, a treatment programme for people who stammer, and joined a Toastmasters club, where he has already completed his first speech project.

However, going back to Stutter Social, Kishore notes the greatest benefit is the opportunity to express himself freely in a big group without worrying about stammering.

In his spare time, Kishore is an artist and photographer. He also enjoys cooking for friends and family. In the future, he plans to spend more time exploring painting.