South China Morning Post
12th January 2015
510,000 WeChat users add their voice to audio books for the blind
by Chris Luo
Over half a million people joined hands to contribute their voice through social media to add a human touch to the audio books made for blind children in China.
WeChat’s “The Voice Donor” welfare campaign launched on the mobile social media application offered a paragraph of text from a list of selected books to each of its users and invited them to record them on their mobile phones, and send back via the application.
The app, developed by internet giant Tencent, then gathers all the audio files received from users and composes them into audio books available to 100 schools for the blind across China.
Since the campaign was launched in August, over 510,000 users have contributed a total of over 2.3 million audio clips. Nearly 10,000 blind children have received the audio books made from these soundtracks via a reading device provided by WeChat.
“With this welfare campaign, we are hoping to draw our users from all over the world into caring for blind people,” WeChat said.
Reading devices Wechat provided for blind people as part of the with charity campaign.
With help from the public, the sound clips were ultimately transformed into a list of 150 audio books selected by WeChat. They range from popular world fictions like The Little Prince and The Great Gatsby, to Chinese classics Dream of Red Mansions and works like Triple Door by contemporary novelist Han Han.
WeChat said it launched the campaign instead of transcribing electronic books into audio files automatically because “this new way of doing charity allows more members of the public to participate so it draws more attention to the needs of blind people”.