Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Media awareness and public engagement !!!

The students of SOIL- School of Inspired Leadership conducted the third and the last Blind walk event at Leisure valley, sector 29, Gurgaon. This time again apart from 10 SOIL students, public were also made to participate and experience it. This activity not only creates awareness, empathy but also made them sensitize the challenge towards the special skills, needs of the blind and whether public places are inclusive for them. The aim was to make public places accessible to all and to observe people’s reaction to the presence of visually impaired. It was completely different experience for all. The whole activity was covered by media, journalists from Times of India, Hindustan Times, Friday Gurgaon, ETV and 2 other magazines making us reach more people creating wider impact.

Some photos takes during Blind Walk.

Experince shared by some people:

She found it a really different experience altogether.It is tough to live life without vision.

Public participants:
The experiment provided an opportunity to experience what blindness is and how they overcome obstacles at every step. It is really difficult to walk and society should come forward to make public places safe for visually impaired people.

Himanshu Thapliyal:
It is difficult for a visually impaired person to walk in this park as the facilities are not available
Vishal Rathi:

A completely new experience for him. He found it very difficult to walk a small stretch. He have never imagined, how life would be without vision and would be so challenging.

Arun Kumar:
This was a great opportunity to understand the challenging things that we don’t realize and sensitize their feelings. He was happy to experience such a unique activity.

Media coverage and participants sharing their experiences.

 The article in Hindustan Times: 

The article in theTimes of India:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A World within a world !!!

Harminder Soni
Before blind walk Harminder Sir was quite curious and excited about experiencing something new which he hasn’t heard of so far. He closed his eyes took a cane and walked in the crowded lane of Galleria. What he experienced after which was something he did not expect before the walk. After completing the walk he sat down in a chair, said every individual should try this out to understand the challenges and appreciate whatever we have got, as most of us still grumble for things we don’t get. He wanted his staffs in his office to also experience it and made them participated in the walk!!!

Alka Dixit
Her respect for people without vision had just doubled. She felt their spirit of not giving up and enduring the challenges they have to face every day, keep fighting against the odds and perform better than what we do is something that should be respected and encouraged. She was happy to experience such a unique activity!

 Surbhi Chauhan
One of our most enthusiastic participants was excited from the beginning to participate in the walk. She apart from participating in the walk wanted her friends to experience the same and called them up too. She said she was able to observe more with her eyes closed. She was more focused than she usually is.

Nanda Kumar
Nanda had never experienced something like this before. He had few things that struck him. I found it super difficult to walk a small stretch. I have never though, how life would be without vision. I have never imagined it before. This was a great opportunity to understand things we don’t realize. I would make my friends and family experience the same.

Ankit Anish
I have seen and worked with people without vision. I have always found them inspiring. The way they plan and execute their work and the amount of effort they put in is absolutely amazing that each one of us should learn. The blind walk just made me wonder why do we complain when we have everything. And why they never complain even when they have many challenges

Cauvery Jalan
She found it very difficult to even keep a single step. She knew she was slow and had a long distance to cover but her fear of falling was holding her behind. It made her understand how difficult life becomes when one can’t see. She felt it was wonderful experiencing something that was completely new and created a lasting import.

 Some photos taken during the event:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Blind Walk-A Life time experience!!

Esha is part of the Social Innovation Program (SIP) of the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), were the business school partners up with 25 NGOs. The students from SOIL work with an NGO throughout the year identify the critical projects and needs of the NGO and contribute towards fostering its growth. Every year four students from SOIL team up with Esha. This year it was our turn to join hands with Esha and our first task was to conduct a blind walk. We were asked to choose a small stretch in a public place for doing the blind walk.
The experience we had after conducting the walk was incredible. The moment we closed our eyes and started walking towards the target area, which we felt was very close by and easily reachable we were proven wrong. After a few steps we felt it really challenging. We were just guided by our ears.
The place sounded pretty crowded, every step was taken with so much effort not to hit anyone around. The fear that we might fall anytime made it even more difficult. It took us 15 minutes each to cover the stretch which would normally take a minute or two to cover. There was one among us who found it quite easy, as he recently had an eye surgery and had already experienced walking without the support of vision.

The activity also caught the attention of the mixed crowd at Galleria, they were pretty curious as to what was going around. It created a lasting impact in us which would drive us further!! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Suno - the app to access CLABIL

Logo of the Suno App on Google Play Store

This has been a great week for Esha. First, we launched the volunteering page on the website.

Next, on June 12th, we held the first open 9Tanki workshop - where the participants were as young as 15 and some of them older than 40. For the first time, varied perspectives were present on the same stage and it enriched our view of how 9Tanki can change perspectives, and lives.

And now, we are so happy to share this : Yogesh is a bright engineer. On his own personal time, and out of his interest, he has created an app in partnership with CLABIL. All the free content of CLABIL in Hindi is now available on this Android app. It is simply called "Suno"(सुनो ) Suno literally means "Listen" in Hindi. Simple. And Powerful.

Some salient features of the app are:
  • Content can be downloaded on the local phone.
  • Chapter navigation is easily possible.
  • The library will be remotely updated as and when we add books.
  • Once downloaded, the book will not need to be downloaded again :)
I have personally tested the app with the native Android accessibility mode and its very good handling.

We encourage you to try the app even if you are sighted (since all content is free) . And of course, spread the word to NGOs, govt schools and children who are not enrolled in formal schooling. We have a lot of stories for them to learn from..

The app is available here:

OR, just go to the Play store and search for "Suno" - we got it easily enough.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Visit to NAB with our volunteers

visit to NAB with our volunteers 

visually impaired person working on the computer

trainer who teaches the blind womens to work in kitchen

craft work training given to blind womens

teacher who trains them craft work

blind womens who are working in the kitchen

training given to blind women for working in the spa

training area for craft work 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

9Tanki -12.06.2015

Theater workshop first time conducted in diverse age group and it was really more fun, and developed more creativity working in a team with different age group. Its was full of mixture of ideas from all the age group.

How to make a Geography tactile map

Earlier, Here and Here, we have created Tutorials on how to make tactile maps and 3D models of officers and buildings.

Today, lets see how we can convert normal maps of India, cities and continents to Tactile.

Step 1 : Determine the size. A tactile map almost always will need to be hanged at some place, so ask the person upfront if they want it hanged and if they have enough space.

2. Check the storage conditions. This is very important. Where the storage is in a damp place, ensure that only a laminated map is used.

3. Decide on the details. Tactile detailing takes space. Braille labels take space. Do work out what is possible in advance. The boundary (be it city, country) is definitely required. The capital is also required.

4. Get started: First, create the outline with the dark colored twine. It is easier to work from inside out than to work outside in.

5. After the twine, come the buttons, bindis or crystals.

6. The Braille labels come at the end.

7. Use long stay glue to ensure the longevity of the map.

8. Pack in cling film for storage.

1.  It is NOT advised to put braille labels on cities unless the map is big enough to have labels next to ALL cities. Much easier to use a different type of button for each city, and then to create a legend somewhere (bottom right corner usually) . There need to be 2 buttons of each type. Please touch the buttons with your eyes closed to ensure that you can tell them apart without looking at them.

2. The continent boundaries should be thicker than the country boundary, and the country boundary thicker than the state boundary.

3. When creating maps of cities, use territorial markings only. Refer a municipality approved map.

4. Do not mix physical and political maps in the same map. Create 2 different maps . They are easy to do.

5. When doing physical maps, we can use the following indicative materials:
   1. Flat Lands: Green velvet paper.
   2. Mountains/ Peaks: Use simple game counters for peaks. You can also create small 3D peaks using play dough that children use. Don't make them so high that the person cannot navigate around the peaks to the base.
3. For plateaus, raise the surface according to the nature of the plateau. You can also use material like thermocol if required.
4. For water bodies, you can use 3D paints to create a "wave" pattern within the body in addition to using high contrast blue.
5. All physical maps can be legended using buttons, bindis, cones etc, so long as these items are physically distinguishable. But do legending only after discussion with the user. Not all users are braille literate.
6. DO draw a scale on tactile maps. That one needs to be labelled.

Here is a sample tactile map that we made once:


Friday, June 12, 2015

The Esha Volunteering Page is now Live!!

For a long time now, we have felt the need to create a page on our website where people who want to volunteer can see the currently open volunteering roles, and make specific, productive contribution with their time.

Finally, the Volunteering Page is up and Live!!

Here, you can see all the volunteering needs we have at that time..choose one or more, and express interest!

Special thanks to our Technical Friend of Esha who refuses to be named :)

If you know of any students looking for great volunteering work that comes with the relevant certificate for the work that they do, guide them here..

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wanted: Brand Name for Project for Schools

Dear All: We are looking for a brand name for a project that will work with school children in an year long project. During the year, the students will participate in activities that lead to an inclusive mindset - Blind Walk, Theater Workshop (9Tanki), Read Fest, Blind School visits et al. At the end of the year, these children will be ambassadors of inclusion in their own lives. The project will be fun, with no preaching, a lot of experiential learning.

 What should we call it?