Thursday, October 8, 2015

SOIL Read Fest 2015 - 120 files in a day!

Today, the students and faculty and volunteers at SOIL got together to create 120 audio files for the online audio library  - in English, Tamil, and Hindi.

While the volunteers will share their own experience by tomorrow, a quick look at the languages and the top volunteers today! More Power to you folks.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Requirement Gathering for Daanotsav

Dear All

For our online audio library in Indian languages -, we are running a series of Read Fests in various organisations during Daanotsav.

During a Read Fest, employees of organisations create audio content which can then be accessed directly and downloaded by anyone without signup or payment. You don't need a screenreader because the content is already in audio. A simple mp3 player or a phone can be used to listen anytime anywhere.
The content is available in 16 Indian languages and we are constantly trying to add to the library.
If you need any content in any Indian language (or English), Please do share your requirements with us at before 07 October 2015.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saying Happy Birthday to your friends in style!

A friend, who is also a young mother, asked for 15 cards with "Happy Birthday" written on them.

As we delivered, I asked her, out of idle curiosity, how she plans to use the ones with "Happy Birthday" on them.

Her response was so original that I took her permission to share it here.

When the child goes to birthday parties, they need a tag to put on the birthday present. She would like to use the card to say "Happy Birthday" on top of the gift, and just write her child's name under that braille.

What a great way to make your present stand out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Conduct a Blind Walk

A lot of the Friends of Esha have been happy to hear of the Blind Walk, and have indicated a desire to conduct Blind Walks near their own homes.

So, we created this document on "How to Conduct a Blind Walk" .

How to Conduct a Blind Walk- Organizer’s Guide


This document is for all the friends of Esha who want to organise a Blind Walk. This is a complete organiser’s guide, and we hope this will help in conducting the Walk successfully.

Blind Walk

Blind walk is an activity conducted for people to experience the challenges faced by visually impaired people. The primary purpose of this event is to raise public awareness about the difficulties and help create a sense of responsibility in the society.

The events are staged in the centre of densely crowded places or parks or malls to gain attention to the general public in the area. It is imminent need for the people to look forward to help disabled people in the light of any adversary they face in their day to day activities. Blind walk helps create an impact by making them feel and experience the same.

Requirement Gathering

People Required:

i)                    Participants: 4 to 10 participants. Advised to start with fewer people during the initial blind walk and adding more participants subsequently.

ii)                   Volunteers:  At least  1 volunteer per two participants

Time Required:

One Week

Organising – Preparatory work

1.       Decide the venue for conducting the walk. The walk should be conducted preferably in a busy public place to spread awareness among the public for the need of equal inclusive environment for the disabled and for the participants to get the actual realistic experience

2.       If needed, permission has to be taken from the concerned authorities to conduct the blind walk in the public place

3.       Make arrangements for Canes (sticks used by the blind for support) to identify obstacles during the walk and for direction

4.       Identify volunteers and instruct them with the below guidelines:

i)                    The volunteers should not help or give directions to the participants during the walk but just guide them  when there is an obstacle

ii)                   Volunteers should not guide more than two participants at a time during the walk

iii)                 Volunteers should ensure safety during the activity

5.       Gather participants for the walk and instruct them with the guidelines as well. It is important the participants are aware of the purpose of the walk, which they will certainly experience

Organising - One day before

1.       It is important to conduct a site visit of the selected place for the walk prior to the day of the event and ensure that the location of event is secure

2.       During the site visit it is important to fix the start and end points of the brief walk such that it is of 100mts to 200mts distance with less possible obstacle on the path

3.       Make sure the availability of the volunteers and the participants, importantly if sufficient volunteers are available to guide the participants

4.       Ensure sufficient canes are available, one per participant

5.       Make arrangement for a person to record the walk and the participant’s experience at the end of the walk

Organising - On the day of Blind Walk

1.       Reach the venue a little ahead of the others with the volunteers

2.       Make sure the spot is reasonably busy for the public to see the event and suitable for the walk

3.       The canes and camera to record are the only properties required, ensure you have them ready in good condition

4.       When the volunteers arrive, guide them to the decided blind walk start point. Explain the following to them:

1.       Show the end point to finish the walk

2.       Introduce them to their respective volunteers who will closely walk with them

3.       Inform them the volunteers will not give them any directions, will just protect them from obstacles coming on their way.

4.       Let them know the walk will give them a completely new experience

5.       Ask them to close their eyes once they start walking, and keep their eyes closed till they reach the destination and their volunteer instructs to open them.

6.       The volunteer will intervene if there is a physical danger to the participant (e.g., the participant is moving towards a staircase, or towards a high traffic area or a wall) .

5.       The purpose of the event should be declared to the crowd observing the event. Interested public can also be allowed to experience the walk.

Organising - Follow up Activities

1.       Please record the experience of the participants after the walk. You will be amazed by different experiences and realizations from the participants. Preferably a clear video/audio recording.

2.       Please email their experiences to  which will be posted in Esha’s blog for a wider reach.

3.       If you want to upload the video/audio recordings and images of the walk and the experience, kindly share it in our Facebook page ‘Esha – People for the Blind’


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Read Fest at Copal Amba, Gurgaon - Sep 2015

From Sep 7 - 15, 2015 Copal Amba , a Moody's company, held the "Read Fest" at their Gurgaon office. This was the second Read Fest for Copal, who were also our partners for a Read Fest in 2012.

While we are still counting and cataloguing.. 73 volunteers worked hard to create almost a hundred files.

This goes out to say a Special Thank you! to the volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure that each volunteer was guided, called only when their time slot appears, everything catalogued and checked.. Thank you.. Anuradha, Inderdev, Lakshmi and Priyanka.. for your unending energy and incredible commitment.

Thank you, too, to the Copal Amba team for making this so special - Neha Narang, Priyom, and their entire team.
Recording audio books for the online audio library

Help from the Control Center Volunteer

Recording is fun, especially for a noble cause.

The tireless control center and Priyom

Being Control Center is a lot of hard work - Inderdev, Anuradha, Lakshmi and Priyanka

Recording Telugu content for the online audio library

The Esha Thank you Cards generated much curiosity, appreciation, and conversation, in that order. All volunteers got one.

Posing with our recording volunteers!

It's that easy!

The enthusiasm of the volunteers, and their happiness, had to be seen to be believed.
As the Daanotsav approaches, we have 3 confirmations for Read Fests across India. Do spread the word. The Read Fest is a lovely way to give back, within our own office/school, and to create something that lasts forever, and can be reused again and again.

The Audio Library is at

The content from this Read Fest is likely to be updated before 30th Sep, 2015. We will announce that too!! :)

A major technical change is happening with the online library right now.. keep watching this space for more!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

CLABIL Online Library Updated


Today we went from 4872 to 4925 files on CLABIL.

All of it is content created by school children as part of the Esha Summer Project.

The delay is caused due to some internal issues around Knowledge Transfer by the outgoing volunteer.

We have added some academic content - created and shared by children. There are some files related to laws in India - we were looking forward to that for quite some time and with this, we officially start the Law in Audio Project. Thank you!

There are also some impressive biographies of MJ, Martin Luther King etc.

Do hop over to the online library to see what else we have added -


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why did you start Esha?

"Why did you climb the Mt. Everest?"
"Because it was there."
- Edmund Hillary

I don't know why I started Esha. I also don't know why empowering blindness meant so much. I guess the answer would have to be "Because it was there - the need to empower. The day that need vanishes, I will not do Esha."

Dignity, Empowerment and Enablement - the 3 key words that we live by. We believe in them. We say them over and over again. When people volunteer with us, we first make them unlearn "poor thing" as the first response to disability. We make them experience why the first response should be "Wow" and not "Poor Souls"

That's why we do Esha - because that unlearning is still necessary.. That's why we go to work every morning.. because there is someone out there, who needs to visit the Qutub Minaar but can't see. That's why we do the Blind Walks. That's why we do Braille Cards. That's why we do Theater Workshops. Because there is a 14 year old in a school who will go through this experience, and end his workshop with "Salute!" to the VI population.

God knows why I started Esha. But you know why Esha will continue to run.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Writing about a cute memory..

They were the first batch of SOIL that we worked with. One of the social experiments we tried was 'Value of Books". It was simple. We took a table and put lots of books on it, and small earth piggy bank there. You were free to pick up any book, put the money you think the book deserves. When done, you could also bring the book back. All funds (if any) were to be donated to Esha..

This is what happened when we broke off that piggy bank..


Monday, August 31, 2015

We will be on BigFM Tomorrow Morning!

Tomorrow Morning, at 8 am, we will feature on Big FM 92.7 in the Delhi version.

Do Tune In!