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.

- 74,390 members of Vietnam Blind Association is the second group (updated 2020). 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. Finance

Total budget: $41,748.16

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.