I. Challenges or needs the project will address

1.Challenges that the project will address

In 3rd millennium, globalization with expanding intercultural learning has brought people closer, eliminating cultural and religious differences for a borderless world. It’s an opportunity but also a challenge for the disabled. With the development of technology, the visually impaired can communicate with the world more easily, yet there are still many limitations preventing them from integrating into society.
The Universal Declaration of Human Right (1948) states, “Everyone has the right to Education”, and 5th constitution in Vietnam (2013) also made the right to education theoretically more concrete. Still, a majority of minor groups cannot access proper to education, especially the visually impaired.
Follow the 2014 Vietnam Intercensal Population & Housing, there are 300,000 visually impaired in Vietnam (source Ministry of Plan & Investment). Only 0.0042% blind has access to popular formal education and 30% in center of non-formal education through Blind Associations. To address that problem, Open Road aims to build an online library of audio books and its application on smartphone (Android; iOS; Windows Phone OS) for the visually impaired in Vietnam, by which they can read books through listening online/offline. Open Road brings books and non-conventional education to blind people raising their ability of integration.

2. Briefly describe the specific solution or approach to address the need or challenge

With the regard to beneficiaries’ disabilities, easy accessibility to education would be the primary standard. Audio books are the best solution for our audiences. To obtain the goals of Open Road, Audio books Online Library offers the visually impaired specialized academic, intercultural and soft skills education within only a click.
A studio will be built where recording audio books can be operated independently and for a long term. The Online Library’s book categories are as follows:
1. Vietnamese books:
- Education books;
- Novel and short stories;

2. Specialized skills documents
Essential skills for integration into society and risk reduction of the visually impaired, such as orientation and mobility, home safety skills, cooking techniques, etc.

3. English learning offered in different levels
- Self-study English text books (bi-language);
- Novels and short stories;
- News.

4. IT books

Basic knowledge of IT will help them feel more integrated and also offer more vocational opportunities.

5. “My book – My story” contest
“My book – My story” is a forum where they can share the feelings, emotions about a book they like and inspire them the most for all participants of Open Road.

3. Impact to community

Firstly, all visually impaired students (1249 students) in Blind Schools in Vietnam will be directly benefited with a more diversified education as well as hands-on experiences that will highly increase their confidence to be more integrated upon graduation. The students can later be source of inspiration for others by proving what they can achieve.
Secondly, Open Road can reach the visually impaired (70,000 members) throughout Vietnam via local blind associations. They will no longer feel isolated and be encouraged to be part of and make contribution to the society. Being provided them access to more knowledge, the visually impaired would be able to apply that knowledge to their daily work and life. Being able to educate themselves to gain better understanding and integration into the world they are living in, they will acknowledge their own passion and potentials to believe that they are just as capable as anyone else.
Thirdly, three regional conferences will take place in the North (Hanoi) ; the Centre (Da Nang city) and the South of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh city), each of which includes three workshops about : Guidance on using the screen reading program ; How to make use the Internet ; Raising awareness about the rights of people with disability ;

All they need is more Open Roads for them to step out of the darkness and integrate into the world.II. Stakeholders

1. Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of Open Road are 71,249 visually impaired throughout the North and the South of Vietnam. They benefit directly from Open Road. Their parents/relatives are the indirect beneficiaries: the independence and integration of visually impaired.

- 1,249 visually impaired students from 1st to 12th grades are the first group. They are studying in blind schools in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh city, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, and Can Tho.

- 70,000 members of Vietnam Blind Association is the second group. As Vietnam Blind Association’s offices are located in all provinces, Open Road can be easily and conveniently introduced to more beneficiaries.

- The third group is indirect beneficiaries who are parents and/or relatives of visually impaired people. Risk reduction specialized safety skills audiobooks will help them understand the visually impaired more correctly in order to support them for more efficient integration.

- The fourth group is alumni volunteers/sighted participants who work within Open Road: learning and comprehension about diversity of the society.

2. Local partners

- Nguyen Dinh Chieu school in Hanoi with 200 blind students:
Vietnam and Friends organization has cooperated with Nguyen Dinh Chieu School in Hanoi since 2011. We have been teaching English and making educational materials for visually impaired students.
This school is also a project placement of Inclusive Education – one of YSEALI’s “Seeds for the Future” winners.
Nguyen Dinh Chieu School offers an office and a 29m2 room for set up a recording studio of Open Road.

- Vietnam Blind Association:
Vietnam Blind Association will be a bridge between Open Road and beneficiaries. They will cooperate with Open Road from the beginning, giving us advices about book categories, Disaster Risk Reduction materials; co-organizing conferences to introduce Open Road and delivering audio books to the visually impaired who cannot access to our Online Library.
It is also their responsibility to join monthly meeting/evaluation and give feedbacks in order to improve audiobooks’ quality, as well as project’s efficiency.

- Blind schools for visually impaired in Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh city with 1049 visually impaired students have responsibility to send teachers and students to join the conferences introducing Open Road. They will then guide to others how to use Open Road Online Library.

- Blind associations in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City:
They will be our co-organizers for 3 conferences in the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam. We will also invite key members of blind associations around these cities to attend the conferences.

- Music composer, Van Phong - a music studio’s director will be Open Road’s technical advisor. Van Phong will be a trainer for volunteers concerning voice recording. 

III. Implementation 

1. Communication Plan

• Beneficiaries

- A weekly newsletter will update new audio books, activities; be published on our website, social networks and sent to Vietnam Blind Association.

- Three regional conferences (North, Center and South of Vietnam) will be organized to present the Online Library. Key members of each blind association will be invited to join the conferences and to be the Ambassador of Open Road with the mission of promoting our project.

- To the visually impaired with limited Internet access, Open Road will strongly cooperate with local blind associations where the Internet is available to ensure that these members can approach our products.

- A guidance of the Online Library will be published in Braille and distributed to local blind associations. An audio version will also be uploaded onto the Online Library.

- Updated project events on International Exchange Alumni Website.

• Public
- Our missions and activities are promoted and updated at  www.vietnamandfriends.org. This website will also be used as the platform for Online Library.

- Make good use of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to connect with beneficiaries and society. Our Facebook Page is close to 5.000 likes.

- Three members of Vietnam and Friends are journalists, two are working for Vietnam Television and one, who is visually impaired, is in charge of Vietnam Radio’s weekly news for the visual impairment. They will assure of promoting Open Road on the media widely and effectively.

- In order to popularize and to raise public awareness of the project’s purposes, flyers will be designed as one of our dissemination tools. 

2. Evaluation

- Surveys in Febuary 2017 in Hanoi has showed number of book which blind people read per year (average):
+ 0.1 book/year: 200 blind kids in Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for visually impaired. There is a Braille book library with 48 books;
+ 0 book/year: 200 adults of blind associations as there is no access for blind people to library;
+ 70% participants of the survey are using a smartphone (95% Android’s phone; 5% iPhone).
+ Hanoi’s library contains 20.000 books and 402 titles of newspaper/magazine but there no access for the visually impaired (source : Hanoi library).
+ Transforming a traditional book 150 pages is equivalent to 600 pages in Braille and costs 1,250,000VND (100$) (20$ paper & 80$ transforming cost).
Braille book is not very convenience: used for 3 years maximum; very thick; heavy; and only one person can use one time.
All those numbers to prove that audio book will be best option for blind people.
- Questionnaire in Braille on beneficiaries’ preferences for book categories will be given to the audiences in each regional conference.
- Number audio books will be recorded in certain period (115 audio books in 10 months; each book contains 150 pages, in average);
- Number of listening/downloading will be count in the database of website and its application can show the success of Open Road. 
- Demo audio books will be recorded. Comments from the visually impaired will be collected to justify the applicability.
- A weekly meeting will be held every Friday between our team and the participants to discuss the work plan.
- Monthly meetings with Nguyen Dinh Chieu School in Hanoi and Vietnam Blind Association for feedbacks on audiobooks’ quality and project’s effectiveness.
- After 6 months of project, a mid-term evaluation meeting will take place at Nguyen Dinh Chieu School in Hanoi. Local partners and several visually impaired of each group (blind students, representative of visually impaired) are invited to give us feedbacks.
- The final evaluation will be organized to discuss on second phase of Open Road plan on the following years.

3. Sustainability

- Building a studio is the lowest cost for an online library of audio books. We have made a demo and upload at the address: www.vietnamandfriends.org/openroad. The recording & editing cost us 300,000VND/hour (13.5$).
With a speed of record 6 minutes/page, a book with 150 pages takes 800 minutes in average or cost 3,900,000VND/audio book (172$). If we hire a studio, an investment 7998.19$ for studio equipment, we can only record 47 audio books.
Open Road plans to record 115 books for 10 first months. From 48th audio book, the investment of studio equipment will be amortized. 
- An online library and its application on smartphone (offline) will be built to assure the synchronization of database and easy access for visually impaired.  
- For a long term: after the year of funding, Open Road will run with fee from non-beneficiaries (sighted people) who want to listen its audio books.
With technical measure, the visually impaired has full access to Open Road for free. Sighted people will have a paid account.
The income from sighted will be shared a part with the editions. The rest will return to the operating cost & studio maintenance.
- In addition, a 29m2 room with electricity supply to be transformed into a recording studio is subsidized by Nguyen Dinh Chieu School in Hanoi.
- Sustainable HR: Open Road will have durable resources of international and Vietnamese volunteers who are also members of Vietnam and Friends - a NGO working with visually impaired in Hanoi since 2011.
- The studio technician and volunteers will be carefully trained in audio recording. 
- No expense spent on creating a new website as the Online Library’s platform is built on the current VAF website. 

Therefore, we strongly believe Open Road will continue its mission efficiently in a long-term after funding year.

4. Implementation plan and timeline for the first year: 2017 - 2018

• July 2017
- Studio’s technical design;
- Purchasing construction materials for room repairmen and sound isolation system;
- Purchasing sound equipment;
- Send the technician for training course;
- Working with Vietnam Blind Association on book categories.

• August 2017
- Room repairmen;
- Studio equipment set up;
- Continue work with Vietnam Blind Association on book categories;
- Working on copyright with edtions;
- Upgrading Vietnam and Friends website for the Online Library’s platform;
- Volunteer call application: 200 applicants.

• September 2017
- Volunteers recruitment: 30 volunteers (10 international & 20 alumni volunteers);
- Training for volunteers on recording techniques;
- Continue work with Vietnam Blind Association on book categories;
- Continue working on copyright;
- Making work plan for recording audio books.

• October 2017
- Recording demo audio books and getting feedbacks: 15 books;
- Preparing communication documents, guidance, etc.;
- Preparing for Opening Ceremony and press release in November.

• November and December 2017
- Open Road’s Opening ceremony and press release;
- Recording audio books and uploading to Online Library: 30 books;
- Preparing for regional conferences.

• January 2018
- 3 days regional conferences in Hanoi (the North), Da Nang (the Center) and Ho Chi Minh City (the South) have agenda as follow:
+ How to use the screen reading program;
+ How to make use of the Internet for the visually impaired;
+ Raise awareness about the rights of the people with disability;
+ Presentation of Open Road’s Online Library.
- “My book – My story” contest for visually impaired and volunteers;
- Mid-term evaluation with local partners and representatives of beneficiaries to evaluate Open Road; feedback of beneficiaries; analyze the questionnaires of visually impaired.   

• February – June 2018
- Receiving “My book – My story” participants;
- Continue recording: 75 books

• July 2018
- Awarding “My book – My story” contest;
- Final Evaluation;
- 2nd phase of Open Road.

IV. Finance

Total budget: $41,748.16

Please see the bugdet plan (excel file .xlsx) in detail in the link below:



A demo of audio book has recorded in February 2017 with a support of Mr. Nguyen Huu Chien Thang, a short story of Thach Lam: Duoi bong hoang lan

Please enjoy it.