Reading is for everybody

Reading is for everybody: To ensure independent and free access to information for visually impaired people.

Budapest, HungaryBudapest
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Together with Visionsoft, Alko-soft aims to improve the Hungarian visually impaired people’s access to free information through books and newspapers, to endear reading and to develop their independence by providing options to subscribe to e-newspaper, to download e-books, to listen to audio books (for those without computer) and to ask for advice in legal issues. We also adapt reading devices for Hungarian language.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The main problem is that the visually impaired Hungarians (above 100,000) can access information only with assistance. The person who does not have a computer is forced to rely on a sighted person who reads the desired books, newspapers, or other content. Even in the case when someone is able to manage the computer, will not be able to access certain electronic content, as it is not properly accessible for the visually impaired. The printed media is completely sidelined as set of information. As a result, a lot of information arrives incorrectly or incompletely to them. Those living in disadvantaged areas are even more vulnerable, they do not have self-confidence, they cannot integrate and do not feel themselves useful in society.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

e-Rikkancs - Using a computer the visually impaired person can subscribe to daily newspapers, monthly magazines, media products or read pro bono media. (Fee-based, to be introduced in early 2014.) Digital Library (DITAL) – On a web interface visually impaired people can access and share electronic books and can build a community. (Running service with nearly 5,000 books, free of charge.) Delivery service - The electronic audio books selected from the catalog are sent physically and can be read with own DAISY readers. (To be introduced in 2014; fee: postal costs.) Other services - Improve website accessibility, adaptation of special equipment such as digital reading magnifiers, Daisy readers, Braille displays to Hungarian language.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Current practice: The people could buy, scan the newspaper and books and that’s how the computers could read them. This solution can make errors, bugs in during the reading. Our solution: The people can download the e-rikkancs software and run that. After that can make a search for the updated newspapers and make a buy to read them on the own computer. Book reading solution: The people make a registration in the DITAL system download the uploaded book and can read in without help. This reading technology can provide solution not just for the visually impaired, but also for the elderly people.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The services are independent of geographic location. The beneficiary can live in Hungary or in any other country in Europe, the key is to talk Hungarian. As a first step, we would like to provide the complex package of services in Hungarian, and later on, as the services are achieving the desired results, we expand to provide them in other European languages. Parts of the services are already in place in other countries, but many of them are not, and the complex package is not at all available. In our country, only e-book downloading and accessing services are supported by other organizations.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is no other organization addressing this problem in such a complex approach as Alko-soft. Olvaso.net is dealing with e-books, however, they provide less services and less accessible books. Information Technology Foundation for Visually Impaired People and private individuals deal with making accessible the downloaded version of some articles. The Hungarian National Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired deals with the free distribution of audio books, but their database is very limited. In Hungary, there is basically no IT support for the special needs of the visually impaired, the special equipment available elsewhere are less affordable for the average customer.
Team

Team

The Vision Software senior leader offered us the opportunity for long term collaboration. He was completely open to launch services, he provided support for the operation of the whole service package. Other employees of Vision-Soft also help in the development and project management. We receive support mainly in marketing activities and the pitfalls of business life. The manager of Alko-soft himself is visually impaired, so of course he provides the biggest support possible for the project. A volunteer team is also contributing to the project: a team of 15 visually impaired people volunteered to carry out work like book scanning, data structuring, book uploading and operation of the library.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Organization:
Vision-Software Kft.
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LEAD SOCIAL-MISSION ORGANIZATION
Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

social enterprise

Total Number of Full-Time Employees

3

Lead Contact First Name

Bálint

Lead Contact Last Name

Dvariecki

Title

Executive Director

Country

Hungary

LEAD CORPORATE PARTNER
Organization Name

Vision-Software Kft.

Total Number of Full-Time Employees

41

Lead Contact First Name

Nóra Anna

Lead Contact Last Name

Tóth

Title

Responsible for PR-Marketing

Country

Hungary

Twitter URL
Basic Info
Project Starting Year

2013

Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, BU, Budapest

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact

Any European country where Hungarian speaking people live

Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?

NESsT- Citi Social Enterprise Award in 2012 ;Disability friendly workplace certificate in 2012.

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1
-Type of partner [business/social/public]: Business
-Short description sentence [Max 25 words/partner]: Vision-Soft is a dominant player in the domestic SME sector, ERP supplier with 35 developers and experts employed and with 3,000 satisfied users.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]: Personal motivation of the socially responsible management. Information Technology orientation of the social enterprise. Curiosity about how to use already existing IT assets to support marginalized people in disadvantaged regions and make a sustainable impact.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]: Vision-soft provides human capacity for the digital library, marketing and PR support for the introduction of the services and technical assistance for the implementation of information technology services, assists in finding aid and development expenses.

Impact
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

The results of the current services and utilities are dynamically improving.
Impact to date:
- 2 visually impaired person employed.
- 50 members in the Digital Library with 5000 books in the database
- 208 visually impaired users of Alko-soft’s special equipment and IT services (fee-based)
- 260 visually impaired users of Alko-soft’s free services (pro bono legal advice)
Impact goals for 2014:
eRikkancs : 24,000 annual publication dissemination, expected to reach 2,500 people with visual impairments.
Dital: Appearance of 3000 new books in the database, the number of members reaches 500.
Audio Book Deilvery Service: 100 active users.
Reading facilitator tools: 150 annually.
Number of people with access to free services: free legal assistance to 500 people, platform development
IT services: IT support to 100 people.

Sustainability
Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, NGOs, Businesses, Customers, Loans.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The currently provided services are sustainable in a way that profit from the fee-based services provides the possibility to run pro bono services. This is possible thanks to the capacity support of Vision-soft and individual long-term volunteers. The development costs of eRikkancs were covered from the NESsT-Citi venture grant received in2012. Once launched, sustainability will be ensured by the sales of the publications.
The business development provided by Vision-soft and by NESsT enhances the sustainability of services.

Team
Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Our company was established in 2004 to provide IT services. In 2008 we re-assessed our social mission and market opportunities and launched our services for the visually impaired. The main reason for this was that we were a team of 3 programmers with visual impairments, knowing the needs and problems of our target group very well. In 2012 Alko-soft met with management of Vision Software Ltd and discussed cooperation opportunities to help our target group. From the very beginning, Vision-soft is very open to find new opportunities of cooperation regarding the development and the implementation of new services helping the visually impaired.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

We actually faced few obstacles. The leader of Vision Software handled so naturally the opportunity to cooperate. The obstacles arose from the fact that Vision Software was unaware of the opportunities and needs of our target group, but this was easily overcame by personal consultations and discussions.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

There is a continuous collaborative relationship between the Vision Software Ltd. and the Alko-soft. Not only limited to specific projects, but in all tasks related to the support of people with visual impairments.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

On one hand, the mentality of the employees of the Vision Software is now changed: they have a visually impaired colleague who has programming skills and who manages the DITAL library very well within the framework of the company. Now they see that visually impaired people can perform meaningful and high-quality work and they are able to integrate into the workplace community.
On the other hand, the services that are available for the visually impaired community thanks to the cooperation of the Alko-soft and Vision Software are transforming the life of hundreds, increasing their accessibility to information and their quality of life by enabling them to live a more independent life.

How did you find out about this competition?

Through a friend and the internet