9 October 2000 at 12:10 pm
A high school student and a computer software engineer in the US have spent the last year finding out how hard it is to raise funds to keep their philanthropic dream alive… an innovative web-based braille transcribing service!
HotBraille.com is the only free service of its kind on the Internet and allows people from around the world to mail cards, notes and letters to blind friends and family.
Student, Khaled Saad and his friend Olivier Guilieri set up the site where visitors can type a message of up to 500 words that Saad prints out in braille and sends via regular snail mail to visually impaired recipients.
The Co-founders began working on the project through the inspiration of a visually impaired friend, and technology specialist, Peter Cantisani.
Khaled Saad told Pro Bono Australia that after twelve months the service has grown enormously and the web site offers many more services these days including a membership directory to connect people with similar interests.
Khaled and Olivier still run the whole show from Saad’s parent’s home in Oakland, California originally producing between 30 and 40 letters a day!
Saad says so far, they have been unable to locate a solid funding source and both are using their savings to keep producing the braille, and maintaining their user friendly web site.
‘We run banner ads on our site but they are not sponsors, just a way for us to add content to our site and benefit from our high traffic.
‘Unfortunately for us they don’t cover the cost of running the site.’
The Co-founders say that once they secure a solid corporate or individual source of funding, they have big plans to enhance their service.
Check out the web site at www.HotBraille.com or e-mail Khaled Saad at firstname.lastname@example.org .