World Braille Day: Meaning And Importance

Today on 4 January 2019, we will observe the first ever official World Braille Day.

 
World Braille Day: Meaning And Importance
Image Credit: Freeimages.com

Last November, General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the 4 January as the World Braille Day every year henceforth. This day is not just about celebrating the innovation of Braille, but it is a way of realizing the basic human rights of the visually-impaired and partially-sighted people. This day marks the importance of written language in the world and that everyone has the right to access it, visually impaired or not.

Visually impaired women in rural India reading Braille Books
Visually impaired women in rural India reading Braille Books

Image Credit: milaap.org

About Braille

As per the available data, there are 39 million people in the world who are blind, and another 253 million who have some kind of vision impairment. For them, Braille is a system of reading and writing in any language without the use of sight. Basically, it is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are visually impaired. With the help of Braille, blind and partially-sighted people are able to read the same books that everyone else reads.

Braille represents independence, capability, and equality
Braille represents independence, capability, and equality

Image Credit: sancb.org.za

About World Braille Day

World Braille Day is to be celebrated every year on January 4th to mark Louis Braille’s birthday. The inventor of Braille, Louis, was born in 1809 in France. After he became blind due to an accident, he invented the writing system we know today as Braille at the age of 15. Today, Braille is used all over the world and has been created in dozens of languages. Braille is not just a reading device, in fact it represents independence, capability, and equality.

A kid trying to read in a Cuban School for the Blind
A kid trying to read in a Cuban School for the Blind

Image Credit: hellenjc.wordpress.com

World Braille Day: The Importance

Keeping in mind the basic fundamental rights of those who are blind or visually-impaired, the importance of this day is huge and all encompassing. We are all aware of the reality that our surroundings is extremely biased and has little to no provisions to take care of the special needs of people without the privilege of sight. None of the retail shops, restaurants, airports, banks etc is equipped with Braille menus, tags, bills, etc. The world is knowingly denying the basic rights to the people with blindness or vision impairment.

World Braille Day is all about spreading awareness about Braille and other systems through which we can accommodate everyone in our surrounding and make basic services accessible to ALL. On this day, let us promise to do our part in making our surrounding more accepting, accommodating, and accessible.