Eden College, Durban is involved with various charitable organisations and has worked with the Society for the Blind for quite some time.
In its original form this project comprised 3 parts:
  1. Braille Memory Game cards
  2. Educational games and toys for the blind
  3. MP3 Aids for the blind

Braille Memory Game cards
A number of grade 9s were battling with the concept of working in layers while learning to use Photoshop for the first time. To many of us (the older set) this is a no-brainer as we grew up with tracing paper – so conceptually we immediately understand the idea of working on one frame that may well have 19 layers beneath it, each containing various images and text. This is all good and well until you attempt to edit or alter one of the elements while you are on the wrong layer – your whole design can be messed up with a few clicks of your mouse. This can be a really trying and frustrating ordeal.
We needed a really simple project to familiarize ourselves with working in different layers. Out of this emerged the Braille Memory Game cards with just four layers – a background layer, a picture, a simple word in English and a layer with the Braille text. If anyone messed up a layer, it was really easy to establish where they went wrong and to correct it.
Once designs were completed, pupils collected materials of various textures to construct the cards as textural (3D) pictures that can be ‘read’ with the fingertips. Using their Photoshop designs, they manufactured two identical cards which they tested and evaluated with classmates while wearing blindfolds. When satisfied that the designs were successful, a further 8 cards were constructed. Two cards from each pupil have been pooled to make a complete Braille Memory Game and this set has been donated to our local School for the Blind for use as flash cards or the Memory Game. The extra 8 cards (4 sets) were held in reserve to swap with other classrooms from around the world as further schools came on board in support of the blind.

Educational games and toys for the blind
As an extension project following on from the Braille Memory Game, the grade 9s were tasked with designing and manufacturing educational games and toys for blind children. They were able to; either create a brand new game or toy from scratch, or source an existing game or toy and adapt it for the blind. After thorough research, planning and design, the real work began and many excellent examples were produced. But a few examples –
  • A Braille edition of the game ’30 Seconds’
  • Noughts and Crosses (with tiny 0 and X pillows attached to the board using Velcro)
  • A video arcade bowling alley using a golf ball and holes with electronic sensors with three different pitches for scoring points correctly
  • A handmade fabric book with various textures and textile devices for exploration (zips, buttons and so on)



Braille '30 Seconds' Board Game

Textural Book

Video Arcade Bowling Game

MP3 Aids for the Blind
Concern was raised about the reading ability of some of the grade 8s – fluency, accuracy and speed. The teacher considered various options for remediation and decided that empowering the pupils and giving them their own voice was the best solution. Linking this with the existing idea of Tape Aids for the Blind, it was decided that using mobile phone technology was the most accessible to modern children and saving the body of work in an MP3 format would offer easy uploading, storing, downloading and distributing from the world wide web (as opposed to a physical collection of CDs stored at one physical address and the inherent limitations of this). Once stories were uploaded in MP3 format, free downloads for needy schools would be immediately available all over the world.
They completed two similar assignments for this project and, for both, they used two mobile phones during the recording process – one to record and the other to play lead-in and –out music and to add in sound effects to enrich the story-telling. Various simple sound mixing software was used to balance the sound and to clean up the track.
Finally, pupils designed and constructed an A4-sized textural picture on a piece of cardboard in which they illustrated a main character, theme or important element of their story. The school for the blind that Eden supports will have these textural pictures on hand for the blind children when they listen to the MP3 stories - thereby concretising certain aspects of the stories for added comprehension.

Shania, Aishwarya and Saranya
Zac and Prince recording
Nawaaz and Suhail

Grade 8s completed three collaborative assignments for this project –
  • recording an existing children’s story and loading it to this site
  • writing an original collaborative story and recording it for this site
  • creating a marketing video to attract more readers to the site
For the first assignment, they formed groups and selected an age-appropriate book after establishing their target age-group. They soon realised they faced a problem and needed to include the visuals within the books as literature for young children relies on the pictures to help with the telling of the story. In the conventional situation, while mom and dad (or teacher) reads to the little ones, their minds are kept active with their unhindered imaginations and the pictures offering way more information than the text on its own. Apparently, while the younger set is being read to, as much as 70% of information absorbed comes from the images – so this aspect cannot be ignored. But how to alleviate this for the blind...
This led to the grade 8s having to collaboratively adjust the storyline slightly to include information suggested or offered by the pictures – this in itself being an interesting exercise.
For the second assignment they formed different groups and wrote a collaborative story which was then scripted, read and recorded for this site. The three main themes considered for their stories were:
  • A really funny story involving their family – choose the best one from the group and adapt it for this assignment by changing names and tweaking areas to add interest
  • A cultural tale from within one or more of the communities represented within the group to educate and inform others about a cultural event or practice
  • An animal story
Pupils had input on writing a good story, including simple concepts such as an immediately gripping start, an interesting body containing some form of conflict (a story is not a story at all without some form of conflict in character or situation) and a fitting ending where the conflict is resolved in total or in part. Once written, planning included scripting the storyline, identifying the main reader/s, and deciding on what music and sound effects would be used.
All work is being uploaded to this site.

The third aspect was the creation of marketing videos to create more awareness of the project and website and also to attract more readers to lend their voice to the digital library by reading and recording for blind children. These videos were then uploaded to YouTube and can now be viewed by clicking on the hyperlink on the last page of this website. Part of the evaluation and assessment of this videos was the amount of traffic they attract - so when you view them, please 'Like' them to add to the success of this venture.

Where to from here...
From the outset this project was seen as a Pay it Forward-type assignment. Eden pupils involved in these projects have been challenged to find one more person around the world somewhere – a cousin, friend or ex-classmate who may have emigrated – and to put out the challenge to them to either make a recording themselves, or to challenge their teacher and class to do the same.
If you are still reading this, you have already shown reasonable interest, and so we would like to challenge you to give up an hour of your time – select a children’s story, read and record using your mobile phone and submit it with the details required or design a Braille Memory Game card (see appropriate page on this site – all details and information required is available there).
We have had interest shown by teachers and children in South Africa, Russia, China, Brazil, France, UK, USA, India, Mauritius and Ghana... we have received recordings in 12 languages thus far, but more have been promised and are on the way. Braille card designs will begin trickling in from these countries and more. This can only enrich the repository of sound and graphics files available and offer blind children around the world a richer experience of seeing the world we all take for granted.

All information required should be available on the various pages within the site. However, should you encounter any problems or wish to get in contact with the originators of the project, please email