The 4th January marks the birthday of Louis Braille the inventor of Braille, enabling blind and visually impaired to read and write.
I love to read. In fact, reading is my number one past time. Wherever I am, wherever I go, I read, so trying to imagine life without reading, or writing, fills me with sadness.
Braille was invented in 1809
Louis Braille, blind from childhood, wanted to bridge the gap in communication between the blind and sited.
“Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about.” Louis Braille
In 1839 in his book New Method for Representing by Dots… he describes a method of writing in which the blind could write letters that could be understood by sited people opening up a communication system that still exists today.
Living with visual Impairment
People who suddenly become visually impaired or blind need help and support to cope with this huge change to their lives.
The RNIB have provide specialist counselors and lots of information for people to continue living independently and adjusting to a new way of living.
There are many products available to assist visually impaired to maintain their quality of life.
Need it to read it campaign
This campaign came into fruition recently making it mandatory for all NHS Staff and Services to provide medical information in a format that everyone can access i.e. blind and partially sighted.
This significant change means blind and partially sighted people will be able to manage their own health care and their privacy without the need for a third party aid.
World Blind Union ‘Right to Read Campaign’
The Marrakesh Treaty (The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities) aims at tackling ‘book famine’ by make all reading material accessible across the world.
25 Countries have signed up but there is still a lot do to get this agreed globally but there is still more to do.
Find out more
Accessible Books Consortium
Acting as part of the Marrakest Treaty to bring Braille, audio and large print to those around the world that need it.
Fighting preventable blindness
80% of blindness in the world can be cured or prevented.
Sightsavers is a charity that facilitates eye examinations and offers those that need it vital treatment to prevent blindness.
Sightsavers provides resources in communities to help those that suffer from visual impairment or blindness by providing braille books in schools, glasses and working to reduce the stigma in society.
IOM Celebrates World Braille Day 2016
In 2016 Somalia celebrated World Braille Day in the Waaberi District of Mogadishu with the Al-Basiir School of Blind.
More than 350 attended the event at the communities multipurpose ground that was redeveloped due to the help and support of the IOM.
The government and the community in this area of Somalia are now starting to respect blind people and students with special needs.
“I thank the district administration in helping us to celebrate World Braille Day. We also thank the community of the district, and I think events like this are reviving community values,” explained Yusuf Ali, Al-Basiir School worker.
Accessibility on the 2017 Agenda
Accessibility for everyone is something we would like for future generations and something for governments and us all to strive for.