Friday, August 24, 2012

Social Media lessons for esha

In one of my other avatars, i love social media - especially its use by organisations to reach out to their stakeholders that matter.

One of the most important pieces of advice i give is to go where your audience is, instead of picking up a platform and expecting your audience to come there. So if your target audience is on facebook, go there. if your target audience is on twitter and prefers to correspond with crisp 140 char messages, go there.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when, one day, on introspection, i realised that we were missing out on the biggest social media for our stakeholders - they browse and exchange ideas on , and while we did have a presence there, it was very sub optimal.

Am happy to report that as we write, we have made an effort to correct that. i have now been spending a lot of time engaging directly with people on . the sheer richness of sharing what happens there, is mindboggling.

Our focus always has been on reaching out to children and young people whose computer literacy is limited, or whose access to knowledge resources is very constrained. This here, is a set of computer literate, and heavy computer using visually challenged people, who are articulate about their challenges, their needs, and their accomplishments.

While we will continue to reach out to children who cannot reach a computer, it will also be lovely to help some of those who can reach a computer, and need to use that computer to reach their personal destinations. :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Update: Want to learn Braille?

If you want to learn Braille, this is one of those rare times. :-)

Tentatively on Saturday, August 25th, second half sometime, Esha will hold a Braille workshop. The venue is very likely to be close to DLF Phase 4 or 5.

It takes only about 20 minutes to learn Braille. So if you have always wanted to learn but didnt know whom to ask, or where to go, this is a good time to start!

Do spread the word.

Oh, and yes, we need a venue. The workshop is only for 5 seats (plus one seat for the trainer), and wont last longer than 40 minutes. The most suitable time is 1400 hours - just after lunch for most people. If you know someone who can volunteer a venue, please do let us know.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Help Needed: Bank Clerk Examination Material - English Medium

Deepak, who is visually challenged, is working towards his bank clerical exam. can you please help by recording content in audio for this boy in ENGLISH medium.

How to record:
1. Please do give credit to the site from where you are recording. If possible, do read out the full url.
2. Record as usual.
3. Upload mp3 file to the eshaclabil account (email for the login credentials)

If you are new to recording for Esha, pls post a comment or send us an email, and will be happy to send across a detailed tutorial.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Copal Partners - Theater Workshop Feedback - Final episode

The experience at workshop was great. Even more important was to learn how difficult it is to live life with some incapability and our trainer “raju” made us understand that very well. Salute to him that he was achieved so much like medals and degree. He is really a role model for those who have difficulty. Loved the workshop.

 Sonal Mehrotra
The workshop that was conducted made me realise how privileged I am with the gift of vision. There are so many people outside who are not so lucky. So I feel all of us should spare out some time from our busy schedules to help them and make their lives a little better. I would be more than happy to give my support to Drishti , in any possible way, in future as well.

Preeti Jain
It was really great experience attending this workshop. The difficulties which blind ppl face is just not comparable with any of us. Just in these 3 hour being part of workshop is just lived their life and it  was a great experience. Thanks to all.
Ranjeet R Pillai
It was quite an enriching experience. After today’s workshop I have even more realised the importance of our human organs, and how it feels to be deprived of even one of them. I really salute the people who are managing their lives in spite of their loss.
Have also decided to pledge my eyes. Looking forward to be more useful to society.
The experience that I feel through participating in this workshop is like how much difficult one should have without his eyes. It was so inspiring. I am speechless.
Lovelita Joseph
Through the workshop that we did I cant to experience how difficult it is for people who do not have sight. Though we see and notice people around us who are visually challenged but through this session which took hardly 5-10 minutes we could not do it without any prop etc. life is too difficult for them in reality whereas we sometimes feel that we lack so much. I really appreciate Drishti for the work that they are doing and I  have been blessed through this workshop. I really wish that we could actually support such people.
Ramanjeet Singh
Raju, you really taught me how well someone with a major disability can manage life and not for once crib about the fact that he does not have something.
Wonderful experience and very enlightening as well. It has encouraged me to think more.
Keep up the good work.

More feedback from Copal Partners workshop

this is belated.. but i just got around to typing all this out.. once again, thank you ppl, for the awesome feedback!

Sonam Chopra
Life is much more than just living it.. we do not realise how much gifted we are.

Raju is an apt example of “spirited” success , it’s the spirit, - the undying, persistent, never give up spirit that is necessary pre requisite for achievement.

It was awesome experience , eyes closed for five minutes made me relaise the “gift” I have been blessed with. Thank you so much.. thanks!

Keep up the good work – all the best!

Parul Dhir
Very good experience. Learnt so much; didn’t know how easily a small 3 hour workshop can bring so much appreciation for life, vision and just living.

Amazing trainer, kudos to him and his independence and zest of making it big in life. Best of luck to him and wish him all success in life.

Navket Verma
Just want to say THANKS A LOT RAJU for such a wonderful workshop. Really learnt a lot from such an amazing trainer. Raju has really impressed me with his achievements. Really don’t understand how he manages his time. .need to learn from him regarding TIME management.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Bhojpuri added to your library!

Today, with the Copal Partners Read Fest files upload, am super happy to report that we have now added Bhojpuri to our online library. The collection starts, predictably, with the Wikipedia article on the Bhojpuri language.  :-)

Here is the link to the library:

and here is the link to the Bhojpuri article:

Thank you, Copal Partners, for taking us to 16 Indian languages ... and we have just started cataloging! :-)

need help - gk in marathi

There is a request to record GK in marathi. If you can speak Marathi, please do record whatever Wikipedia articles you can find. Right now, we dont have anything.

The catalog is updated. Before recording, do check to see what is already recorded.

To see how to record for CLABIL, see this:

Once you have recorded, please email me at and i will share the login credentials to upload to google docs. We are using google docs for our audio files.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Animal Farm now available in Audio

Thanks to the hard work put in by Suparnaa and Aparajita, the classic Animal Farm (a must read for everyone, really!) is now available in audio at

Pls feel free to download and share with anyone u know who might need it.

Animal Farm is not copyright protected in India. :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Need Help: anyone interested in guiding a project team

INCA - INitiative for Community Action - the student body at IIM Calcutta that provides consulting services to NGOs , has very sweetly agreed to do a project for Esha.

This is a research project which tries to answer the following questions:
1. At blind schools, what is the access that children have to audio resources.
2. Given this access, what is the utilisation - that is, how many children actually use the resources they have access to.
3. What is the cause of this utilisation? (whether high or low)
4. How do they actually use audio resources? What need is met (or what need would they like to meet) using audio resources.
5. What can we do, if anything, to improve awareness about, and usage of audio resources among the blind.

If any of you is interested in a project of this kind, and would like to guide the project team (students from IIM Cal - remote guidance only. no travel required), please do let me know. We really need collaboration on this project.

Thank you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

why reading the mother tongue is important

As part of Esha, we do a lot of Read Fests at schools, colleges and offices.
And increasingly, i have become aware of a seemingly small problem with huge implications.

A lot of volunteers cannot read, or fluently speak, any Indian language. Even their mother tongues.

And the reason why this is disturbing is this:
CLABIL is a way to bridge the literacy divide too. Access to English should not restrict access to knowledge resources.

The whole idea ot CLABIL is to create audio resources in Indian languages so that people(especially, the blind)  who do not have access to English education (Read: a vast majority of our population) do not lose access to knowledge. This is a form of democratisation of knowledge.

But when the generators of this content do not know Indian languages at all, we are faced with a vernacular illiteracy that makes it impossible for one set of people to communicate with the other set of people.

And then, the unique problem that we at Esha are faced with is this: People want to create content, but they cannot contribute in Indian languages. The beneficiaries want to use content, but English content is not the easiest for them to use.

What do you think we can do to solve this?