Proposed Braille Literacy Proj





History Logs

Project Description

Region: Asia

Country: India

Location: Bangalore

Total Budget: $65,000

Area of Focus: Basic education and literacy


Blindness is defined as the state or condition of being unable to see because of injury, disease, or congenital condition. Currently, India has 12 million blind people which makes it one-third of the world's blind population. India has 320,000 children (<16 years) who are blind, and this constitutes 1/5 of the world's blind children. Braille is the writing system used by people who are blind.

Problems & Solution:

Braille literacy rate in India is less than 1%. The pedagogy of Braille education requires one-to-one teaching and supervision. The lacks of special educators and outdated braille teaching methods have resulted in inefficient classroom teaching and slow learning outcomes. The current primary education tools include wooden blocks, marbles and plastic slates, with continuous 1:1 teacher supervision. This has led to abysmally low Braille literacy rates world over. The lack of special educators, insufficient STEM content in Braille and lack of general awareness has contributed to unemployment and inefficient rehabilitation among the visually impaired. The efficiency of Braille learning can be improved upon drastically. It is essential to address this issue as there is a very high correlation between Braille literacy and employment among the visually impaired.

Thinkerbell Labs is solving the challenges associated with Braille literacy by the first-of-its-kind Annie Smart Class at the core of which is Annie, named after Annie Sullivan, the instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller. Annie is the World's First Braille Literacy device that helps the visually impaired learn to read, write, and type in Braille, on their own through interactive audio-guided content. This innovative technology will enable self, collective and competitive learning, ease homework delivery and evaluation, and bring in easy tracking of progress. The key features of the device include:

1. Writing module: The digital Braille slate is the first-of-its-kind in the world and is unique to Annie. With audio feedback, and tactile input/output, the digital Braille slate is a foolproof method of teaching Braille writing with ease and efficiency.

2. Typing module: The Braille keyboard is designed directly in line with the standard Braille used worldwide, thus adhering to international standards, and training for its usage.

3. Reading module: The refreshable Braille display consists of 2 large Braille cells and 6 standard sized Braille cells. It works in conjunction with the typing and writing modules, thus helping the user learn in real-time to read and write/type Braille at the same time, ensuring better learning outcomes.

4. Data analytics: Continuous data capture of the children's usage pattern helps the teachers, parents, and the Government track device usage and the progress of each child.

5. Premium interactive content: Custom designed interactive audio-tactile content ensures higher engagement and better consumption of lessons. Games, challenges, and learning assessment tools make practice fun and evaluation easy. Kannada medium content ensures that all children learn equally well.

Annie Smart Class innovative technology is thus a connected learning center empowered with interactive content with capability of remote monitoring & evaluation. Implementation of Annie Smart Classes in schools has the potential to improve early-stage literacy of blind children. Further, it gives exposure to blind children to advancing technology to keep up with developments taking place in the present times. As a part of the Braille literacy initiative, RBNW is proposing to setup Annie Smart Classes across 5 blind schools in Bangalore with 10 Annie's each.


1. 5 Smart Classes with 10 Annie's each $62000

2. Electrical wiring, etc. for 5 schools $1333.33

3. Contingency, $ fluctuations 4% $1666.67

4. Total $65,000

Primary Host Partner

District: 3190

Rotary Club of: Bangalore North West

Primary Contact: UB Shanker

Email: ubshanker@gmail.com

Primary International Partner

District: 5440

Rotary Club of: Fort Collins-Breakfast

Primary Contact: Krishna C. Murthy

Email: kmurthy5@comcast.net

Project Status

Need $19,320
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Project listed for the 2021-22 Rotary Year.

The TRF Grant application number is #2233572.

Proposed Financing

Existing Contributions Towards This Project





Bangalore North West (3190)





Fort Collins-Breakfast (5440)





Remaining Amount to Raise

Additional Club Contribution (Needed) - Add a contribution




Amount Requested from The Rotary Foundation






DDF contributions in grey are pending approval of the corresponding district committee.

Note: as of July 1, 2015 there is a 5% additional support fee for cash contributions. This fee does not appear in the financials above because it does not apply if the funds are sent directly to the project account (without going through TRF, and therefore without Paul Harris credit). Clubs sending their cash contribution to TRF must be aware they will have to send an additional 5%.

Project Supporting Documents

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History Log Entries


by Krishna C. Murthy

System Entry: Creation of project page.

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