An audio treat of books for the blind

August 31st, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) The blind may no longer be bereft of enjoying best-selling books as a radio station here has initiated a project to convert the books into audio format.As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, a radio channel, will provide special audio books for the blind members of the National Association of Blind (NAB).

Books like Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, John Gray’s “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” are being converted into audio books for the benefit of the visually impaired by using a software called Daisy.

Riya Mukherjee, vice president, brand integration and corporate social responsibility, Radio Mirchi, said: “Its special features includes creating audio equivalents of every aspect of book reading - which means it doesn’t just convert text to audio, it allows the visually impaired to turn pages, to go back to previous chapters or jump ahead, to even go to a specific line in a specific paragraph, read chapter headings. So it’s a complete book reading experience converted to audio.”

On why they chose the CSR programme for the blind, Mukherjee told IANS: “The world of audio is our area of expertise. We have the voices, the studios, the software, the technology, the know-how and the skill set to create compelling audio, unaided by visuals. Therefore it made sense for us to do work for the blind in our maiden effort.”

Apart from audio books, a weekly audio newsreel which will be a round up of the week’s happenings covering national, international news, business and sports round up, bizarre news from across the globe to the latest in Bollywood, will also be sent to NAB centres on CD every week.

She said that since their initiative “caters to all kinds of blind institutions across the length and breadth of the country, there is no specific age or gender group”.

The radio station is also packaging audio material for the blind students of Classes 1 to 5 for the Blind Relief Association here.

Nursery Rhymes and English conversation will be packaged for the children. This will be made available not just to the Blind Relief Association in Delhi but across India in blind schools soon.

The audio material is available in Hindi and other regional languages as well.

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