Friday, December 26, 2014


We at Astha have taken on altering the view of what is possible for people with bodily disabilities and in the process create a common ground for both people with and without disabilities to come together as ONE for ONE Common Purpose -  We call this JUGALBANDI Sports

We have done this successfully 

Through JUGALBANDI Chess - On 22nd Nov 2014 

And through JUGALBANDI Cricket - On 14th Dec 2014

We are now set make this happen through JUGALBANDI Tennis - On 28th Dec 2014 at KSLTA, Cubbon Park

Unique Tournament where players on wheelchair join hands with players on feet to form teams. Nice Such teams have been formed that will play a one day tournament on 28th Dec 2014..

Request you to take out time for couple of hours to watch these unique matches and be part of creation of new reality. 

I am attaching a flyer for more information and also a Link to Promo 

I request you to help us create awareness about this by spreading information about this tennis tournament to employees in your organisation/Company. You could also help us by posting the information on Your Facebook Account or Twitter

Thank you

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thoughts on International Disability Day 2014

As one more International Day for PWD dawns, we are not celebrating. Because we wonder when these terms will change. Suppose it was, International Day to become aware of Disablers? Suppose this were a day when, instead of looking around and saying, "Oh, we must do more for PWD" , we said, "We have been disablers for far too long. That must change TODAY."

Suppose, this day were to dawn differently? Suppose we were to start the day by everyone doing something to enable the world around them? Learn Sign language, pick up Braille, record an audio book, create a ramp near their house or in the colony park, visit a blind school to understand ability rather than disability?

That would be a good start. There is a Hindi saying that goes, "बात करने से बात बनती है " - When you communicate, things happen. But to communicate, we have to speak the same language - suppose we took the first direction towards that communication?

बात करने से बात बनती है.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Feedback from Dr. Sunita Chugh on braille cards for her..

Thank you for writing my name in braille on my printed visiting cards. it is such a good idea. I just can't thank you enough.
As an human resource consultant one of my struggles has always been about how to tune myself sensitively into people and without disturbing them.
I experienced a clean shift after printing my new cards through you. Now when present my card ;  a few people have directly asked me, is this braille ? and then their voice softens. Their eyes gleam . And I live a new hope ; that I will be understood by them sensitively , naturally and easily.
Our conversation flows invariably more smoothly after a braille card is received by my prospective clients!
Many cheers for this wonderful visionary work and initiative. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Radio Run!

At the talk at IIM Calcutta, one of the challenges we threw to the students was, how do we increase the reach of CLABIL? And awareness about CLABIL?

Akilanathan, from the back of the class, came up with 5 great ideas. One of which stood out - Use Radio!

And we thought, "Of course! Everyone we want to reach listens to the Radio! "

So we came back and started thinking of how we were going to record a radio ad, who will design, who will talk, where will we record..

Then, barely 3-4 days later, Priya wrote .. she wanted me to talk to her cousin - who is.. a Radio Jockey!

Arvind and I had a very very nice chat, and Esha will be featured on radio in Calcutta in the first week of December..

That's why I say, my job is to sit here and wait.. someone up there is sorting things out for Esha all the time.. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Updates on the reach of CLABIL

This is a happy post. Last night, while going through the stats of the audio library, I noticed that, in the last week, we have got hits from the places we wanted to reach - small towns in India, and big towns who do not normally use this library... the whole idea of creating an online library was to distribute access, and over the last fortnight, apparently, we have done very well on that front - the visits are from Jorhat in Assam, Patna, Guntur (AP), Vienna, Japan, Bhubaneshwar, Gulbarga, Hapur(UP), Patiala, Nasik, Thane, Dhaka, Islamabad, Ireland, Udaipur, Ernakulam... Am happy to see the reach spreading out so much .. Good Morning, World!

Report of the Namchi Blind School visit, November 2014

When I first visited Namchi Blind School in Janruay 2014, I expected to see a well funded, well endowed school. This is the only blind school in all of Sikkim, and Namchi is the constituency of the Chief Minister.

What I found, instead, was very different. I have written about it before. This time, however, I am very happy to report, the story was entirely different. The school has now got govt. funding and is back to being a “government school”. The principal very sweetly told me that they wont need any more clothes etc because now the govt pays for everything. I love that kind of honesty. In January, things were really bad, so this trip was quite a pleasant surprise.

Those of you who know me, also know how much I love road travel, and how important this school must be, for someone like me to undertake 7 hours on the road in a single day. Yes, it was worth it. :)  

We started by exchanging notes, and him telling me how much they had loved that audio content. (in January, audio content that could be heard using the computer was a very new idea for them. They had depended largely on braille)

The visit started with a review of the usage of the content we had contributed last time. I was very happy to hear that not only had the content been used, but also that the Principal, Mr. Jiwan Rai, had taken the trouble to translate into Nepali and share the content with the children who do not understand Hindi. I requested him to please record his translations next time. He has kindly consented. 

We also spoke to some students who have used the original content and took feedback on the content, the background noise, the pace of speech etc.

Next, we donated the things we had with us – a room heater, some warm clothes for the winter, and most importantly,  mp3 players with SD cards loaded. The Principal and I discussed the best way to use these mp3 players, and we decided to make these a part of the library, so that all students can use them by turns. One for the girls, and one for the boys. :)

The school was really happy to have this audio content. 8 representative students were also in the room. Together, we discussed what all was required, and about 6 GB of new content was shared with the school.

The students would like more quizzes, more GK, more stories to learn English, and Speed Maths was a big hit. We found it hard to stop the demo audio. :) We will be recording these.

I also heard about the integrated schooling program of the school. After class 5, the students are moved to an integrated school where they learn with other children. Braille literacy in the school appeared to be really good, and now the school also has a brailler.

Students can study upto Graduation in Namchi itself, and after that, it is Delhi. This integrated education program was really interesting and I spent some time talking to the 8 students(in a structured interview)  – 2 from Class 6, who had just joined integrated school this year, to 2 students in graduation first year, who will shortly be preparing for Delhi,  to understand how integrated schooling worked for them, the challenges they faced and what helped them overcome those challenges. The overwhleming input was that their friends, and the love of their teachers in the new school helped them cope with the challenges. I really feel that’s important. Where the new environment is welcoming and inclusive, it is always easy to find ways to meet the physical challenges of not being able to see the board , braille with the rest of the class, etc.

There is only one school, and the teachers of that school are ready to welcome the children. That makes a big difference. It was heartening to see that some of the kids, now in Class 9/10, did not even remember their challenge and said, “no big problem”, when I asked them about it. On further probing, they remembered “something”. I smiled a lot.

I also found neighborhood children playing in the yard of the school. The best thing was that everyone took everyone else for granted. The sighted did not look at the school children as if they were special, and the school children interacted pleasantly with their neighbors. There was no special treatment to anyone and by anyone. It felt lovely.

Catching up on what happened since we last met  - Utilisation and other updates.

Mp3 player familiarisation for the principal sir

Requirement gathering and hearing about integrated schooling

Student interaction on previous content, and other general catchup.

structured interviews on integrated schooling process and what makes it work.
After we had completed usage review, mp3 donation, and the student feedback sessions, it was time to head back. It was 4 30 in the evening, and we had a gruelling 3.5 hour drive ahead of us.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Visit To Government School

In past two days I visited two school government and MCD school respectively they very much interested in the our audio library and they also interested in and all esha does and especially our audio library and theater workshop.

They said that audio library is very useful and helpful for the students and the teachers. The stories in hindi and quizzes in hindi are good for in their free time and they also ask us to conduct a workshop about

the audio library about how to use audio library.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

On October 11 2014 Esha conducted theater workshop at SAP lab Gurgaon,SAP Labs researchers, design, and delivers leading edge softer applications that enhance and extend. SAP solutions, and is recognized within the SAP global organization as one prime contribution to innovation, quality ans service.

Theater workshop done by Raju Koli. These workshops are based on the Theater Technique, and are therefore, inclusive, activity based, and fun. These workshops provide a refreshing change from the standard Team Building and other workshops usually used employees and friends in a group.

The main aim of these workshops was:
1. To make the participants more aware of their own gifts
2. To make everyone a sensitive to the special needs of the differently-able.

It was a great experience and a great success.


The Read Fest is a simple event conducted at SAP labs by Esha on oct 11 Employees volunteer. On the designated day, a team of volunteers guides the readers to an empty meeting/class room, provides books and keeps track of what has been recorded. 

The reading volunteers were encouraged to record in Indian languages. Most blind and print disabled children are only familiar with an Indian language. We were able to collect lot of data that will help visually impaired people.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Its was really a great success and lot of employees took initiative to do the recording.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Visit to Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha

 Today we visited Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha, it was totally a different experience. Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha was created with a goal of changing this scenario and building the foundation of knowledge among underprivileged children to assure their socioeconomic development and bringing these children in the mainstream society with an aim to finish the barrier between them and the privileged children.

We went there to spread awareness about the Esha’s online audio library that Esha had started. They were very impressed by the audio library and also the collection of the recording we are having. We also believe that the transformation in the lives of these children can only when more and more fortunate people start actively taking part in finding a solution. And our audio library has been one of the thing which will help in the development of the children.

At Saksham, every child has a right to the opportunity to build a meaningful future. We felt that at Saksham they are doing a wonderful job and it was a great experience visiting there. And providing education means empower children.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

 Hi friends,

As I am Esha’s coordinator I m very glad to inform you that today I visited AADI- Action for Ability Development and Inclusion situated in New Delhi, India. The rural arm of AADI is AADI is headquartered in Dayalpur, haryana. AADI’s vision is of a world in which people with disability are an integral part of society, participating in the community and living life to the fullest, with equitable access to opportunities and services.

They were very glad in knowing about the Esha audio online library and they also said that its will very useful for them as well as for the parents of the children coming there. They were saying that this library is not only useful for the blind but for every disabled person can use this library.

I am very happy that through Esha I am getting such wonderful opportunities .

Friday, September 19, 2014


Hi friends!!!

I am Alisha Esha’s coordinator. Today I really had a wonderful experience. Today I went to Junta Blind School, Gurgaon for painting workshop for the children with major and minor sight loss.

The children were encouraged that even those with little sight to take up this wonderful pastime. It is very relaxing and a great way of enjoyment for the children. I had assumed that blind people would have little interest or talent in creating images. I was very wrong. It is clear that blind people can appreciate the use of outlines and perspective to describe the arrangement of objects and other surfaces in space. But pictures are more than literal representations. For them the importance of touch and feeling is more when creating art without sight.

They felt that they would always be an inferior way of creating art when compared to what could be accomplished with eyesight. But more than this though their entire perception has been changed. Children were very happy and excited. Students asked me to repeat this workshop again. And the best part was that even though they were having difficulties in making the drawings they were not ready to give up. They said they will slowly connect with this new thing they started learning. ; It was a really wonderful experience for both me and students.