Audio book and radio feature

Project participant from Ethiopia feels the letters on a metal plate.
Project participant from Ethiopia feels the letters on a metal plate.

The ‚Audiobook‘ pilot project: An Ethiopian organisation learns how to produce an audio book. Two radio stories (radio features) tell us something about ‘Blind Life’.

The German Central Library for the Blind is a library specifically for blind people in Leipzig (see pilot project ‘Touch-and-feel book for children’). In the audiobook project, the library cooperates with an Ethiopian organisation. This organisation is called ‚Together!‘. It helps blind people in Addis Ababa and especially blind mothers. The organisation offers, for example, computer courses, childcare or free housing.

Visually impaired project participant Habtamu Shiawul from Ethiopia plays a piano.
Visually impaired project participant Habtamu Shiawul from Ethiopia plays a piano.

Blind people in Leipzig and Addis Ababa want to learn more about their environment. However, it is costly to produce books in Braille signs for the blind. For this reason, audio books are a good option. Blind people can listen to them with an MP3 player. This involves low costs.

Cologne Cathedral in Germany depicted on a tactile page of the touch-and-feel book for children
Cologne Cathedral in Germany depicted on a tactile page of the touch-and-feel book for children

In this project, the partners in Addis Ababa want to learn how to produce audio books themselves. For that, they want to know how journalists work. They also like to learn about the technical side. For this reason, two project participants from Addis Ababa came to Leipzig for a week in February 2018. They worked with different people to produce an audio story for the radio:
– With the journalist Nora Gohlke
– With a technician of the German Central Library for the Blind
– With the project manager Ludwig Henne.

In autumn 2018, the journalist Nora Gohlke travelled to Addis Ababa. She gave two training courses in the ‚Together!‘ organisation. The course participants worked with the software for producing audio books. A studio was also set up to record audio books. Now ‚Together!‘ can create its own audio books. Many people can listen to them.

Children welcome delegation members to ‘Together!’ NGO in Addis Ababa.
Children welcome delegation members to ‘Together!’ NGO in Addis Ababa.

In addition, the journalist Nora Gohlke tells us in two radio stories something about ‘Blind Life’. Nora Gohlke developed ideas for these stories with the support of ‘Together!’ partners. One employee of ‘Together!‘ came to Leipzig in February. He made his first big trip. His name is Habtamu Shawl and he is blind. It was his first flight in an airplane. Habtamu Shawl told journalist Nora Gohlke about his trip. They visited together a woman with poor eyesight who travels a lot. They recorded these interviews for the radio stories.
In Addis Ababa, they continued with the stories. Nora Gohlke took a tour of Together!’s house. She spoke there with many employees and recorded these interviews. Nora Gohlke also went with two blind people through Addis Ababa with a pocket recorder. She interviewed them about their life as blind people. ‘Together!’ organisation supported and trained both of them. Samuel Hailemariam has a job in a ministry today. Enaniye Yalew works in a workshop that makes carpets. The radio story presents Enaniye and Samuel.
Nora Gohlke also travelled with blind people in Germany. She made audio recordings of blind people who like to be on the road or to travel. For example, they ride a bicycle for two people. That is called tandem riding. Others hike in a travel group for blind people. Nora Gohlke talked to many people on the phone who are blind and travelling. She recorded these telephone calls too. All recordings were put together and edited for the radio stories.
Now you can listen to the stories about ‘travelling blind’ on the radio. In this way, many people get to know the lives of blind people in Germany and Ethiopia.