Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM’s initiative for the visually impaired
An experience basically means stimulating the senses through various touchpoints- sight, touch, feel, music etc. But in certain cases these senses may not be fully receptive, such as among the less abled. How does a brand establish a meaningful connect and create value for such consumers?
To address this issue within their brand Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM has established Mirchi Care, a CSR initiative and experiential campaign focussed at the visually impaired to allow them more flexibility in their daily lifestyle and a platform to experience the brand more closely. Pallavi Rao, Group Head, CSR, Radio Mirchi tells us more about it-
EE: What is the purpose of Mirchi Care?
Our main endeavour is to be able to provide audio help and entertainment to the blind and visually impaired. Most companies would donate funds towards the health and education of the disabled but our focus is to enhance their day to day experiences by providing substantial content that can help them lead a more confident and convenient life.
EE: What are some of the things you have accomplished within this programme?
We have recorded more than 470 audio books across various subjects- fiction, romance, entertainment, education etc.
We have also helped develop a software for translating auto rickshaw meter fares which converts the meter readings into a blind friendly format. This endeavour is to ensure that the visually disabled can travel alone more confidently with reduced chances of being fleeced by rickshaw drivers.
Our most recent efforts within this programme has been to record menus at restaurants for the visually impaired to be able to step out by themselves and enjoy a good meal. We have covered 20 cities so far and have a presence at several mid-range restaurants such as Mcdonald's, KFC etc. We have also provided menu’s in braille format at certain restaurants such as Chung Wa at GK-2 New Delhi.
EE: Does the investment justify the fact that it really just takes two minutes for someone else to read the menu?
It is beyond our imagination the various challenges that a blind person is faced with on a daily basis. Even if they are escorted to a restaurant, small queries such as reading the prices off the menu and trying to remember them and the various possible permutations and combinations may dip their self esteem. So much so that it is seen a lot of them refrain from stepping out of the comforts of their home. We have received tremendous support and help from Prashant Verma, Joint Secretary at the National Association of the Blind. He himself does not have vision and explained that even though he has the purchasing power, he usually gets his food delivered home. The only restaurant that he feels confident enough to dine in is perhaps one that is equipped with a software for the blind.
What is the kind of investment that has gone into this programme?
The only investment from our end is our passion and dedication towards making a humble difference for the blind community. We mainly work on barter deals and help from volunteers. Being a popular radio channel we have the resources and accessibility to reach out to the wide pool of like-minded people who also feel strongly about this cause and are willing to help.
EE: How do you gauge the ROI, in this case your time and effort?
Within the National Association of the Blind there is a Women’s hostel and we got a call from its Matron a few days back saying that a group of women have stepped out of the hostel to eat at one of the restaurants that we have provided support to. Instances like these are very encouraging for us and bring tremendous joy ascertaining that we have managed to make a difference through our efforts.
We still have a long way to go no doubt, but with time we are positive other companies are sure to catch up and there would be many more hands working towards building better lives for the disabled.
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