World Braille Day (4th of January)
No one in this world wants to be visually impaired. Seeing everything with your own eyes is a different kind of feeling. Yet, some people lose their vision because of any kind of accident or some are just born with this disability. But that doesn’t mean they are any less capable than others. That is why we celebrate World Braille Day on 4th of January to honor the people who are visually impaired and to spread awareness regarding braille.
A brief history of braille
Usually, indentations and bumps are used to represent the letters in braille that can be understood by touch. Louis Braille, the inventor of braille, created this language when he got blinded in an accident.
Before this invention, blind people used to read by using the Haüy system. In this system, the Latin letters were embossed either on thick paper or leather. However, in order to use this system, a lot of training was required which was quite complicated. Plus, this system only allowed visually impaired people to read, not write. Louis Braille got so disappointed that he developed his own system in the 19th century.
Louis Braille arranged the codes in small rectangular blocks known as cells with raised dots in the pattern of 3×2. Each of these cells demonstrated a number, letter, or punctuation. However, now, you can find a variety of versions of braille.
Braille isn’t restricted to just one type of language. Even subjects like music, computer programming, and mathematics can also be represented, read, and written in braille.
What is World Braille Day?
World Braille Day is celebrated each year on January 4th because it’s the birthday of Louis Braille, the 15-year-old inventor of braille. Louis Braille was born in 1809 in France. He became blind after going through a terrible accident in his childhood. But, this didn’t stop him from living his life. He adjusted to the new way of life quite magnificently.
At the age of 15, Louis Braille developed a system that allowed visually impaired people to read and write. His system was based on the night writing system of Charles Barbier. As of now, Louis’s system is known as braille and this system is being used by visually impaired people all around the world.
Why is it worth celebrating?
World Braille Day reminds us about the importance of the independence of all those people around us who are visually impaired. Even in today’s world, there are many restaurants, hospitals, and banks that don’t offer their menus, bills, and other important documents in braille versions. Because of this reason, many visually impaired people are unable to select their own meals or even keep their financial and health matters private.
World Braille Day is a reminder for all those people that there should be a form of communication for these people. Everyone has the right to be treated equally and be given the same services and accommodations, irrespective of any kind of disability. World Braille Day lets us acknowledge that we should all be better citizens and make everything much more accessible for everyone.
Celebrate braille literacy
Braille literacy plays a very important role in creating equal opportunities for visually impaired people.
Unfortunately, Louis Braille died before he could see how marvelous his invention would be. France’s Royal Institute for the Blind Youth adopted a braille curriculum, two years after Louis Braille died. By 1916, almost all the schools of the United States started teaching braille to all those students who lost their vision due to some cause.
Today, many new ways have been invented to promote braille literacy among people. These inventions include watches, Rubix cubes, and lego-style bricks. You’ve often seen braille on signs, elevators, ATMs, calculators, etc., right? This is the reason why.
It’s all done to raise awareness regarding this means of communication. All praise and applause should be given to Louis Braille for this along with all the schools that adopted and taught this system to the students.
World Braille Day 2021: Celebration and Significance
2021 will be the third year when World Braille Day will be celebrated. The world blind union will celebrate this day in full swing. This day got approved by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in November 2018. However, the first World Braille Day was celebrated in 2019.
World Braille Day helps to raise and spread awareness among the people regarding braille as a means of communication. This day tells us about the importance of this language system to visually impaired people.
World Braille Day isn’t an official holiday. So, all the businesses and government offices work just like any other normal day. They stay open.
What is Braille and how does it help in reading?
When the alphabets and various other numerical symbols are represented in a tactile form, it is known as braille. Six dots represent each number, letter, scientific, mathematical, and even musical symbol. Louis Braille invented braille in the 19th century and thus, the name. Braille is used by blind or partially sight-impaired people to read and understand the same books as those printed in a visual form.
According to Articles 21 and 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) of the UN, braille is highly important in the context of education, forming an opinion, and most importantly, freedom of expression.
Who was Louis Braille and how did he develop the language?
Louis Braille was a French man who got blinded at a very young age. However, his love for studies didn’t fall back and he even got a scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth.
It was during this time when Louis Braille started working on a language that could allow visually impaired people to read and write. In 1824, Louis Braille developed braille for fully visually impaired or partially impaired people. But, this language got published in 1829 and since then, this system has been modified and improved many times.
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