Thursday, November 23, 2017

We Are The City Rising Stars Champion Award, 2017

Esha won The Rising Stars Champion Award (5 winners this year) for our work on creating an on demand knowledge resource. This is really heartening for us because we work on empowering women - not just in the white collar category.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Library Updated - 6578 files

Today, the library was updated to 6578 files.

The additions are in English, Tamil, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali and Malyalam.

The most notable additions are the stories of Malti Joshi ji in Hindi. For lovers of Hindi literature, this will truly be a treat.

In other news, we are also updating the user interface of the library to be more responsive to the new screenreaders and also to be more friendly for dexterity challenged and low vision users.
There are some technical issues with that, so you may not see the entire list of files, albums and languages right now. We hope to have that sorted by tonight and then

In the meantime, please do listen to her stories in her own voice using these direct links:

The Tamil files shared by our partners - Bhumi have also been added to the library in this release.

We have also found at least 2000 files that were in the drive, but not in the catalog. We became aware of them while preparing for the data porting for the mobile app. The mobile app also now has about 240 files, so it should be good to use. When we port the whole data, we will have to make some upgrades to the app itself too.

Lots of work coming up, most of it internal cleanup. That is always painstaking, detail oriented, and not easy. But very important. Wish us luck!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Library Updated - 6438 files now

Today, the library was updated and there are 2 notable additions:

Malti Joshi ji, a Hindi author of repute, has donated her stories recorded in her own voice, for the library. Do search for "Malti Joshi" and enjoy these stories, as I am determined to do.

Vibha Srichand has recorded some great biographical stories of Swami Vivekananda.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Talk at SAP Urja - June 21, 2017

On June 21, 2017, we spoke at SAP Oorja about the need for a National Knowledge Grid that makes knowledge available and accessible to those who cannot access it today.

Talk at SAP Oorja , SAP Gurgaon, June 21, 2017

Library Updated-6366 files in 21 languages now

On the 22nd of June, the library was updated from 6293 to 6366 files. This is an interim update pending our second major cleaning and audit exercise.

This update has content from:
1. Moody's Analytics Read Fest
2. Individual Volunteers: Smt. Varsha Jain, Nandini Sivakumar, Hema Lumba
3. Some earlier content from Copal Amba that we discovered in the Audit process

The following are the notable additions in this update:
1. Smt. Malti Joshi's Hindi stories have been added for the first time. Special thanks to Varsha mam for recording these stories and also reaching out to the author herself for more stories to be added to the library.

2. The Secret Garden - someone donated this long ago but it was omitted in cataloguing. It came up in the audit process. Its a lovely recording.

3. Feluda by Satyajit Ray - I have wanted to record Feluda for children for the longest time, but only succeeded now, thanks to Moody's Analytics. For anyone who wants to record more Feluda, please see what we have under English, and feel free to record anything else. Feluda in other languages most welcome and very required.

We hope you enjoy the update.

The next update is likely to take some time because we are in the process of auditing the catalog against every single Read Fest ever conducted to find files that should have been catalogued but weren't (we have found 250 such files so far) , files that are duplicates in the catalog (same file, different name) et al.

We are also trying to get someone to create a new UX, which retains the simplicity of the current structure but also makes it more current (this interface is now 7 years old)

Wish us luck!
The Online Library now has 6366 files in 21 Indian languages

Monday, June 5, 2017

Presenting at the Inclusive Design Conference 2017

For the first time, we will be presenting the idea of Universal access to knowledge, to a global audience. Presenting at the Inclusive Design Conference on the 9th of June. Its an online event, so do join in!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Top Blogs of India - Second listing.. Thank you!

For the second year in a row, the Esha blog has made it to the Top Blogs of India. This is a list I quite like because there is no commercial angle to it. Its made and released with no canvasing, no propaganda. Just good stuff where content is key.

Thank you, dear list editors!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Eenadu - a story about Esha

As a Hyderabadi, we grew up in awe of Eenadu - the leading Telugu paper. To be featured in Eenadu was, to our minds, the very pinnacle of success. So this story feels great! To be featured prominently over a page dedicated to women achievers.

Special Thanks to Raju, the journalist, who conducted this interview so well.

Sharing the story.

Esha's story in Eenadu

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Hindu

Today, Esha was featured in a story in The Hindu - Sunday edition. The story appears in the web and print editions.

In print, we were the first sidebar on the front page, and then a half page story on the second page. It was awesome!

The story was carried at exactly this spot in all the editions - all over the country.

Thank you, Peter Griffin!

Front Page of the Hindu - Sunday Edition in all the editions nationally

The link to the web edition is here:

Do share your views.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Report in The Free Press Journal Mumbai

Today, The Free Press Journal did a story on making books accessible to all.

Esha was featured in this story :) . The story is a lovely compendium of effort
being made by individuals and organisations to make knowledge accessible to all. Do read and share.…/they-cant-see-but-…/1056282

Monday, April 17, 2017

The crying need for good CSR Talent

Take a look at this report:

Here are some key metrics for you to consider:
  1. "The number of companies spending CSR budgets exclusively through corporate foundations increased to 72 from 60 last year, reflecting an increasing trend towards companies building their own capacities for implementation. "
2. "Finding the Right Project" remained a challenge for as many as 14% of the companies.

3. Planning and Implementation was a challenge for 44% of the companies.

If there is one thing that this report is trying to say, it is that we desperately need good CSR talent to realise the dream of a progressive India through Corporate Social Responsibility.

A good CSR Program has the following structure:

The only thing that can catalyse or ruin this change - is people. People who make it possible for the 2 sectors to talk to each other successfully and productively.

There is money. There are agents of change (NGOs and government programs). There is a need for funds. Yet, 44% of the companies are not able to plan and implement effectively. 14% of them are still struggling to find the projects, and 12 companies have had to set up their own foundations to do the work.

That is the price that we are paying for not creating great CSR Talent. 8,185 crores was spent by Indian corporates on CSR last year alone. Imagine the difference that can make to a country like India.

It is time to plug that gap and to create greatness through corporate partnership in social spending.

Note: This post also appears on my Linked in profile and on the Topgain blog.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Library Updated - 6034 to 6293 audio files

Today, we made another release to the online library.

We went from 6034 files to 6293 files.

With this release, we add Assamese and Garhwali languages to the library, and we have waited a long time for this :)

Some of the content you can now enjoy in the online library is:
A. Civil Services exam preparation.
B. GATE exam preparation
C. A lot of content to learn Sanskrit
D. Over 10 new quizzes!
E. Harappan civilisation information in Gujarati
F. Prof. Mohan Singh's poetry in Punjabi
among others....

This addition to the library has content from the following Read Fest partners, in addition to the individual contributors, of course:
B. Milliman
C. Moody's
D. SAP Labs

Enjoy the new additions!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blind walk at Good Earth City Center on 8.03.17

Good Earth City Center is one of the most happening places in Gurgaon, therefore we opt to conduct one of our Blind Walk here. Also, we invited Goibibo employees who work in the close vicinity of the venue. We conducted eight round of blind walk, engaging 51 people. Before we began with our event, we just tried to enquire upon, how good is Good Earth City Center for the people who are visually unabled. Unfortunately, we could not find much infrastructure which could be friendly to these people. With an aim to let people empathize with blindness, we conducted this blind walk.
We were glad that 51 people participated and shared their experience post the event. They also realized how we commoners are ignoring this section of society who are rarely observed in public spaces. Goibibo employees were first time experiencing an event like that, they invited their friends to experience the world without eyes. An event which started with just a blind walk turned out to be a lesson for a lifetime for almost every one of them. We took the recording of the experience of the participants which is available on our Facebook page. We just need a little empathy to make this world beautiful and accessible for everyone, including the visually unable. As a moderator of the Blind Walk, we felt that, everyone who participated have almost forgotten about those who are differently abled, but when they underwent through a similar situation as blindness they are going to remember this for a long time. We thank our NGO ESHA for enabling us to conduct Blind walk at this venue.

Corporate Blind Walk

Today we went to Amtex for conducting blind walk. We met Dankush and HR Neha and they were very supportive. We were introduced to the staff of Amtex . Earlier they all were working but when they were told by Neha about the noble cause for which we were there they all came to support us in this good initiative. We first announced them the reason to conduct the blind walk as it was to sensitize the people towards the difficulty faced by the visually impaired people. We looked for a place where we could do the blind walk.We asked the employees to take initiative and two of those came forward and we instructed them the way to do blind walk and told them the stretch till where those were supposed to do the blind walk. There were a few obstacles in the stretch but everyone used their canes to overcome obstacles and we as Esha team also kept guiding them during the walk. Once the walk was done we asked them about their experiences and they all said it was really tough to walk and they could understand the difficulties the visually impaired people felt. They all thoroughly enjoyed this as well.

After that we recorded the experiences of HR Neha and Dankush as well and they said they were really happy to be part of this activity. They also assured us that their organization would definitely like to be part of the activities conducted by Esha foundation

Monday, March 13, 2017

Blind Walk and Read Fest

Last Wednesday, we did a Blind Walk at the Good Earth Mall, Gurgaon.

Next Wednesday, we have  chartered Blind Walk for Inventcare in Gurgaon

On March 16,17, Moody's is hosting a private (open to employees only) Read Fest at its premises.

Looking forward to an eventful week ahead!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

PMI North India Chapter and Rotary Club of Gurgaon

Yesterday, we spoke at the AGM of the PMI North India chapter about chapter members volunteering for Esha.

We also were a part of a Rotary Club of Gurgaon event. The club has donated 1 computer and one set of speakers to enable us to set up an audio library at a blind school.
Update on 13 march 2017: Last week, that library was set up at the Junta Blind School, Gurgaon.

Good day1

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Theater Workshop, Read Fest, Media and Braille Cards stall!

Today is a very happening day at Esha.

Today we have:
1. A theater workshop at Nagarro
2. A Read Fest at The Sri Ram School, Aravali
3. A stall at the Diversity and Inclusion dialogue at The Lemon Tree Hotels, Aerocity, Delhi.
4. We got featured in the Economic Times, Delhi edition.

:) To more such days!!!

On Feb 6th, we also got featured in the Times of India, Delhi edition. In print, it was the second page center. :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jugalbandi Cricket match and Blind Walk Guides

On Jan 20th, 2017, the World Cup T 20 Blind Cricket Team of India played with the senior school students of The Sri Ram School - Moulasari campus. This match was a collaboration between Esha, The Shri Ram School, and Samarthanam.

And today, at the Shri Ram School, Aravali, we conducted a Blind Walk to create guides for the Blind Walk. Faculty members and 11th grade students learnt how to guide participants in a Blind Walk. Was it fun!
The Blind Walk Guides' Workshop at The Shri Ram School

Learning to be Blind Walk guides

The student volunteers who will guide Grade 6 participants next week

The T 20 team of India enjoying the hospitality of The Shri Ram School at lunch

Thursday, January 5, 2017

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.