Thursday, January 5, 2017

Esha finishes 12 years today

Today, we finish 12 years of being Esha.

Congratulations to us, and to you!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year from Esha - and our 2016 roundup



It’s that time of the year again, when we wish you a Happy New Year from Esha, and share with you our year’s work in a few bullet points.


2016 has been a momentous year for most parts of the world, and we hope that you have a lovely 2017. One that is better than 2016 in every way.


Here is what we did at Esha in this year.

  1. The library – Our online library went from 4916 files to 6034 files. That’s a growth of about 22% Yoy and 18% of the entire library has been added in the last year alone. (
  2. The CLABIL Outreach Program – This year, we had an audacious idea – to take the library directly to the people who will benefit from this content. To take their inputs and make the library better. This dream was made possible through the grant by Indiabulls Foundation, facilitated by my friend and batchmate – Sorabh. Through this grant, we were able to take the content of CLABIL directly to 48,000 listeners in remote parts of the country. We learnt a lot from the experience. We also got some new user groups – Muscular Dystrophy and Learning disability, for instance.
  3. This year, we ran our largest ever Summer Project yet. We processed over 120 applications, selected 45 and they had 6 projects to choose from. A lot of the content on CLABIL came from our summer interns. We had one volunteer who interned on social media management and was able to meet social media metrics for Twitter, Facebook and also SEO. This was a rare chance when a student got independent responsibility for Social Media metrics. The best thing about the project was that the project management office was also staffed by the interns through remote collaboration. We are sure that we can do a bigger, better summer program next year. More details here.
  4. Work as usual also grew. We worked with some more organisations that wanted inclusive braille cards, while our existing clients continued to support and share our work. 2 government departments also had their cards braille enabled this year. The best part about all this is that(as usual) we did no advertising or soliciting of business. Theater workshops saw a duller than usual year, but we hope to change that this year.
  5. The Blind Walks, Blind school visits and other sensitisation programs continued with the same zeal and elicited the same beautiful response. The Sri Ram School students’ visit to the blind school this year was phenomenal. We hope to also help  conduct a jugalbandi cricket tournament next year with the T20 blind cricket team of India and the students of The Sri Ram School, Gurgaon.
  6. Tour De Vision 2016 saw a 33% growth in participation from TDV2015. Under Rajesh Dhuddu’s guidance and with the hard work of SOIL students, we are on track for Tour De Vision 2017 – bigger, better and more powerful. If you are a cyclist, or know one, please share our sensitisation and fundraising initiative at . Registrations are now open for 5th February, 2017 and we hope to make Tour De Vision one of its kind event for sensitisation, attracting cyclists from all over country and who knows, perhaps also doing it in parallel at other locations. We are also looking for sponsorships for this event.
  7. Our existing partnerships continue to grow and be strong – SOIL, The Sri Ram School, We4U, Suno, Samarthanam, NAB Center for Women and others. Some new friendships were forged this year – ISDM, Sankara Nethralaya is setting up an audio library on premise, iVolunteer will now offer Esha volunteering options to corporates who wish to devote their time, as will Ennovate Global. I4V was forged as an alliance of 4 organisations to work with disability in the Vidarbha region. Esha is one of the 4 core partners.  These are the major partnerships. There are more. J
  8. We got extensive media coverage this year. We were on the Independence Day special of Times Now channel and in an earlier broadcast that was made in 80 countries,  The Reader’s Digest, Femina (both Hindi and English editions), Radio Mirchi Bangalore, The Better India (This story was shared 8000 times and went on to become one of the best shared stories on the website), the Times of India, Chitralekha (Gujarati weekly from Mumbai) and


What we hope to do next year

  1. We are currently working on a mobile app for CLABIL that is, by design, for our primary users – those who cannot see and those who cannot read. Most apps are designed for the sighted and then used by the VI through a screenreader. This app is being designed for our core users. It’s the first that I am aware of. Obviously, as design goes, it’s a challenge and an opportunity. I am very excited about how the app is shaping up and we hope to share a sneak preview on the blog soon.
  2. The website needs an urgent revamp. We have been trying to do this rather unsuccessfully for at least 2 years. We need a website that is responsive and mobile friendly and not cluttered, so that the screenreader can aid navigation too.  Someone who can understand the challenges of screenreader navigation and work with us to smoothen that.


What we need help with

  1. Testers for the mobile app – we need as many different types of users as possible to test the app during its development. As you can imagine, I use Agile for development and there is plenty of scope to rework and retest the features.
  2. Esha is what it is because of Friends of Esha. As ever, please spread the word, share the library, donate your voice, donate a small monthly sum towards our operational expenses, get Blind Walks and Theater Workshops done for your organisations, get your cards Braille enabled. Anything at all. The corporate deck of esha is here. And the blog is at
  3. Participation and sponsorship for Tour De Vision 2017. If you can think of someone who may want to sponsor, please write to me or speak to Amit Kalia at 09871559179.


I truly cannot end this email without thanking the Universe. And You.  We all know that we have all built Esha – brick by brick. Piece by piece. One file at a time. One card at a time. One talk at a time.


We have taken time to talk, to write, to spread the word, to contribute our time and money, to send our cards, to mentor people, to partner. To do a lot of small things that add up.


This time of the year is for reconnaissance. As we do that, we become aware of how much there is to be grateful for. May it always remain this way.


In 2017, I wish you more gratitude.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chitralekha - December 2016

Mona Kankaria's story about Esha in Chitralekha Gujarati Magazine - Dec 2016

Mona Kankaria Sheth has written this story in the Gujarati Weekly magazine - Chitralekha. December 2016.

Thank you, Mona. I love the way the story's visuals focus on students listening to content. Though I can't read Gujarati script, this is definitely a story after our own heart!

Chitralekha story on Esha Braille - Dec 2016

Library Updated - from 5632 to 6034 files!

We are soo happy to share this final release of the year - we take the library to 6034 files with this release!

Special thanks to the partners who have made this happen.

SAP Labs
SAP Consulting
Hema Lumba and Vidushi Singhal

And everyone else who donated their voice in the last 2 months..

Thank you so much!

This release has the following content:
1. More Arthashastra by Chanakya - Hindi detailed edition
2. Children's Stories in English
3. Ruskin Bond
4. Maharishis of Ancient India
5. Resource content about child abuse
6. UPSC CSE Papers from 2015/16 - English and Hindi

We are at

Monday, December 12, 2016

TSRS Visit to NAB Center for Women

Working with children is always super special to us. Because when we create inclusive children, we are creating an inclusive future.

Which is why, the program where we take The Sri Ram Students of Grade 7 to a blind school, is among our favorite programs. 30 students enter that school, and 30 inclusive children exit. Their faces are so different when they come out..

This year also, the teams came one section at a time, and were left in awe as they understood how we use mobile phones, computers, chop vegetables, cook on fire, serve on plates, eat food independently, use libraries and resource centers, and use special aids to do everything else.

This year also, the students had a lot of immersive pre experiences. Every class did something to prepare for the visit. The children prepared songs that they wanted to sing at the school, some of them made beautiful bracelets and earrings and canvas pouches. It was soooo good to see them hand over things that they had made themselves..

The visit typically lasts 90 minutes, and is an experience of a lifetime - for everyone - the teachers, the students and us. Every single time, every single year.

Till next year, then!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Library Updated - 101 files added today in Sanskrit, Hindi and English

Today, we uploaded 101 files in the new release to the library.

This release has the following content:
1. Arthashastra - Hindi - Some new files
2. Academic Content for Class 12 - Shared by We4You
3. Some classic English content - Shared by Samarthanam, Bengaluru
4. Files for B.A. English - Contributed by our volunteer, Samarth Bhardwaj, from Chandigarh.

We are now at 5632 files :)


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

SIP program at SOIL for the batch of 2016-17 and the reasons of joining ESHA as penned down by different team memberss

We 4 people - Pavas, Amit, Minali & Syed are part of ESHA team as a part of our SIP program.

We all have preferred ESHA due to one reason or other which are mentioned below

Minali : I have both personal and professional reasons attached to joining Esha.Personal reason is I have seen my maternal grandmother for 3 years after she got detected with glaucoma and lost her vision.  I always wanted to support visually impaired people and contribute in any possible way. 

Profession reason is after joining Soil when I came to know about Social Innovation Program, I consulted seniors enquiring about various NGO's and did the primary research on same. 
Everyone told me that " Esha is the best place to go if you really want to work and learn", so I gave my first preference as Esha and I am fortunate enough that I got a chance to work with the team. 
Within a week I can actually feel that whatever I came to know is actually true and I will try to make the best out of this opportunity

Amit : I chose to work with Esha foundation because it is one of the inspired institutions (rather than calling it an NGO) which gives eyes to the people who are visually challenged. It is really hard to understand the plight of the people who have been robbed of nature’s gift to see the beautiful world around them.  Moreover, it makes increasingly difficult for them to perform their daily chores when they find hard to see the universe around themselves. So, I decided to lend my services to such an institution which is working to show the light to the people from its own eyes and make them self-sustainable forever. I really salute to the founders Ms. Nidhi and Mr. Rajesh and the other members who in spite of their demanding schedule have decided to denote their life towards the well being and betterment of these people. I feel privileged to be a drop in such an ocean of warmth, love, and care.

Syed : I had been associated with quite a lot of Programs like Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan, Bihar Education Project for Literacy among children in Bihar. But, volunteering for an organization which helps visually impaired sees the world is a step ahead. I am really grateful to ‘ESHA-People for Blind’ to give me this opportunity. I got to know about ESHA from my mentors Prof. A N Bhattacharya and Mr. Rajesh Dhuddu and eventually it became my first choice for Social Innovation Program because of its project-based approach for accomplishing the milestones throughout the year. I hope we bring out some positive changes in the life of people who see the world differently

Pavas : Since I have gained senses, I have seen my father visually challenged and hence I do understand most of his problems due to his condition. I was always curious about his condition and repeatedly inquired to my mother as to when he will get "normal" like us.
However, gradually i accepted the fact that my father may remain impaired through his lifetime. Growing up with a member like this in the family has sensitized me towards their condition and the difficulties/challenges being faced by them and their response to these events. 
I have always been inclined to contribute and get back to this deprived section of society in any way whatsoever. With great pleasure , I inform that I have helped my father get literate again by engaging with him in learning braille and he is now able to surf computer and use a mobile phone through audio-visual aids JAWS and Talks respectively. The will to learn and determination I saw in him was exemplary, and I realized that if similar support is extended to other people in this strata they could become self-reliant too.

When I heard that ESHA foundation is coming as a part OF SIP program in SOIL, I jumped at the opportunity and here I am working with a team of 3 beautiful people hoping to make even a small impact towards creating awareness in people.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Esha Organisation Presentation is now live

The Esha Organisation Presentation has been a long time coming. It is finally released on Easy to understand, comprehensive and quick. Do check it out:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Online Audio LIbrary updated wiht 100 more files - 5531 files now

In this release, we have added 100 files. This release has the following new additions:
1. Hindi translation of Arthashastra
2. Punjabi stories for children - 3 stories have been added
3. Content from We4You - Oriya academic content
4. Some English novels have been added.

Feel free to browse and see the content here -
Online Audio Library Current interface