International online audio-book library in Arabic language
- AlManarah Association for Persons with Disabilities
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- Start Year
- First published
“AlManarah`s International Accessible Library is my ultimate solution for enjoying reading accessible books.” Abbass Abbass, AlManarah Director
Persons with print impairments in the Arabic-speaking population are often unable to gain access to literature and educational materials due to the very significant lack of accessible audio books in the Arabic language.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The AlManarah International Accessible Library is a free online library providing audio books in the Arabic language, covering over 30 topics, including Arabic literature, world literature, self-development, children’s books, and educational materials. It is the first accessible virtual library in the Arabic world. The audio books are professionally recorded at AlManarah’s studio and uploaded to the organization’s website, where they can then be accessed via a mobile phone application or directly from the website itself. Over 4,500 books have been professionally recorded to date, providing access to over 50,000 hours of audio for persons with visual impairments or print disabilities. The books are made available through Israeli law based on the Marrakesh Treaty, an international agreement that allows accessible versions of books to be produced and distributed exempt of copyright laws for the use of persons with disabilities (the Marrakesh Treaty is a 2018 Innovative Policy). As of mid-2017 the Library has over 60,000 users and receives over 200,000 visits every month.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
AlManarah plans to recruit volunteers to record audio books to increase the speed of production of new material, with an overall aim of increasing the number of unique users accessing the resource by 50 per cent each year. In 2016 the Ministry of Education began to include the audio books in Arabic-speaking schools, and it has shown interest in including the mobile application as part of the educational curriculum for persons with print disabilities in schools across Israel. The project is funded through donations from non-profit organizations working in Israel, along with grants from the Israeli National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as well as from advertising on the website through Google AdWords. AlManarah plans to transform the library from a non-profit project into a social business by moving to a small subscription-fee service to ensure long-term sustainability.
THE STORY OF SEREN, USER OF ALMANARAH’S INTER
“Listening to audiobooks fills all of my free time.”
My name is Seren and I am from Kfar Bara, a village in the Triangle Area of Israel. I am very happy to express my enormous gratitude to AlManarah and share with you my experience of how its International Accessible Library saved me emotionally. I used to work as a nurse until I unexpectedly developed an eye disease, which resulted in blindness. I was so frustrated and depressed with my new condition I even contemplated committing suicide. When I heard about the library from my brother, I became totally consumed with listening to audiobooks, which now fill all of my free time. The audio library of AlManarah has completely empowered me and enabled me to face the sudden loss of my vision.