What it is
The Read Fest is a simple event that we discovered during the SAP volunteering opportunity.
For one hour, all meeting rooms are blocked for the event. Employees(in case of educational institutions, students also) volunteer. On the designated day, a team of volunteers guides the readers to an empty meeting/class room, provides books and keeps track of what has been recorded.
The reading volunteers are encouraged to record in Indian languages, because the idea is to create a library of Indian languages. Most blind and print disabled children are only familiar with an Indian language. Volunteers are also encouraged to share stories from their own childhood, in their own words. This helps if they are not able to read an Indian language.
Recording is done on the laptop's inbuilt mic, or on an external mic, as applicable. A freeware called Audacity is loaded on the laptops. After the recording, the files are exported as mp3 and handed over to the co-ordinators. That's it! Esha will then take these files and upload them to the central library. Usually, we try and inform the volunteer when the files are uploaded.
Who can do it?
All offices. All schools with children in Class 8th and above.
What is the lead time required?
Esha does not need any lead time. The material for the co-ordinators is ready and can be disseminated. We recommend that the posters should be put up a week in advance, and some email notification to all should go about 3 days before the event. The event itself can be registration based or walk in, depending on what works for the organisation. We recommend a walk in event, because a lot of people are enthused when they see the real thing happening.
Why Read Fest over a normal story telling session?
- Convenience of recording from anywhere.
- All material will be reused multiple times.
- Way more children can be covered using the CLABIL project.
What is the cost involved?
There is no cost attached to the Read Fest, except the employees' time and the meeting rooms being booked for one hour (or for the duration of the event). The laptops / desktops used for the recording are as available with the organisation. The files are transferred using google docs or any simple USB stick. Esha has bought server space to host these files on the internet for the free use of the blind.