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,” a WeChat spokesperson told the South China Morning Post . With help from the public, the sound clips were ultimately compiled into a list of 150 audio books selected by WeChat. They range from popular world fiction 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 need of blind people”. “For blind readers, an audio book featuring voices of love from all over the nation is much warmer than one with unfeeling electronic voices,” the WeChat spokesperson added. To ensure the quality of the audio books, WeChat said it sent each line of text to several different users and then compared the audio clips they received using sophisticated technology to choose the one with the highest sound quality, in terms of accuracy and fluency. Some users expressed concern that whether an audio book from a mixture of distinctive voices may result in unsatisfying reading experience. WeChat said a trade-off was need to find the the balance between lowering the user-participation threshold and maintaining an engaging reading experience. “In some senses, [having various distinctive voices] also helps blind people feel the warmth of society as a big family”. The audio books are also available on the campaign’s website and and its WeChat account. “The campaign is an excellent example of utilising social media to do good for society. It only takes a little bit of time from people’s daily lives but is capable of achieving a tremendous cause,” said Dr. Nocola Chen, a university professor and a Hong Kong-based WeChat user who donated her voice. She says she believes the campaign could play an even bigger role in society based on her professional experience. “I can imagine the campaign could serve the wider elderly and pre-school children population as well, and fulfill their needs for audio books,” she added. China now has over 12 million blind people. Only less than 10 per cent of them are able to read Braille. Audio books are considered a compelling alternative to Braille print in serving the reading demands of the blind population.