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World Braille Day 2015 -- In honour of the dots!

This day (January 4th) marks the birthday of one Louis Braille who, in 1824, at the age of 15, devised the tactile code now known as braille, used by those who are blind to read and write in much the same way as the sighted use print and handwriting.

  • Braille is critical for students who are learning to read and write and who will not otherwise gain the same appreciation for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Braille is critical for those who work: research has shown that among those who are blind, the vast majority of those who are employed are also braille users.
  • Braille is important and helpful for everyday tasks, particularly when technology is unavailable or fails you: an address book with emergency telephone numbers in braille will always be available, even if your iPhone has fallen into the toilet.

As things stand now, the future for braille looks promising.

  • The adoption of the new Unified English Braille Code in Canada, the U.S. (in part), Australia, and other countries demonstrates that forward progress is being made in developing and maintaining the code.
  • New technologies, such as portable notetakers and mainstream devices like Apple's iPhone and iPad, which include support for braille displays, makes braille relevant and useful to daily activities.
  • The promise of a new, more affordable braille display will bring access to "on demand" braille to all persons who are blind.
  • The World Blind Union is celebrating the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty by 81 countries, which (once ratified) will provide an exemption to copyright laws that will allow braille materials to be shared internationally. (Currently, while many countries have exemptions that permit local organizations to reproduce works in braille without contravening copyright laws, those exemptions do not permit international sharing.)

Organizations from around the world are taking this opportunity to celebrate and launch new initiatives:

  • The Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt is celebrating the day with an exhibition: "As part of the World Braille Day celebrations, the BA Taha Hussein Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired is organizing an exhibition to highlight the uses of the Braille system as well as to showcase its collection of Braille books and periodicals. The exhibition will also display some Braille devices and tools. Two events will be held alongside this year’s exhibition: “Write Your Name in Braille” and “Print Your Picture in Braille”.
  • CNIB has gathered a number of links about ongoing and upcoming projects related to braille, such as the inclusion of braille names (through beadwork) in a commemorative quilt being created for the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion.
  • The American Foundation for the Blind has collected 10 braille resources and articles you'll want to bookmark and share.
  • DD News (India's public broadcaster) produced a video about World Braille Day
  • Braille Literacy Canada is launching their Big Brailler Bounce Initiative, which aims to locate, repair, and re-home currently unused Perkins braillers to those who need them.
  • The New Brunswick Public Library is making samples of braille available to all patrons between January 6th and January 10th to promote awareness of World Braille Day.

What else has happened to celebrate this day?

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.

Comments

As part of a school project, my son, Bradly, focused his French project on Mr. Louis Braille which was great. I'm pleased that our youth continue to understand the importance of Braille.