Providing accessible education to the blind - My Take by WE4YOU
We have started recording books for blind students in 2011. Some of us were substitute writers for blind students during our school days and we wanted to find a way to help them.
Some of those students requested us a few times to read books to them, and they would listen to our voices and memorize the chapters. Gradually their friends started asking too and that's how we got the idea of reading and recording books for the blind.
Today, over 15,000 students in Odisha, Chennai and Gurugram access our free audiobooks every year. We record books in Odia, Hindi and English, and then distribute them to students. The students range from class 7 to doctorate level.
More than 70 volunteers are involved in this work. They can either use the audio recording setup in our office or on their computer at home or the mobile. They have to make sure they do this in a silent room, in a loud and clear voice and speak clearly. We manage to gather volunteers through social networking sites and camps in schools and colleges.
We divide the audio files into different folders and users take the audio files from us on CD, DVD or else their mobiles. We share the files in MP3 format so that they can listen it in any of the audio devices. We don't charge them anything.
The blind have a very strong memory power. So they memorize files easily. The problem is that we are unable to meet the demand. Though we have 70 volunteers, we get requests from thousands of students. The other problem is that in Odisha, different universities have different books for the same classes and the syllabus changes in less than two years.We organize different fundraising events to meet our goals and we have donations as well from members. Finance is an issue in all these years but we are managing anyhow because of our will power.
About the Writer
WE4YOU is a voluntary organization working in Odisha, Delhi and Bengaluru. They convert textbooks into audio format so that school & college students can listen to it and study easily.