World Braille Day
National Braille Literacy Month is celebrated in January every year. It is also a celebration of the founder, Louis Braille’s birthday. Apart from honoring Braille’s legacy, this month aims to educate people about the importance and advantages of Braille literacy.
The Braille system came as an advantage to people who suffer from different vision problems. The system remains unchanged to date. Now that Braille has been incorporated into digital devices and computers, it has become more accessible and relevant to the present technology-driven world.
In support of the month long celebration, we are sharing six fun facts about braille below:
- Louis Braille was 15-years-old when he invented braille.
- Braille is a tactile code, not a language. In fact many languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic can be written and read in braille.
- A braille cell is made up of 6 raised dots.
- Every letter, number, punctuation, and symbol can be written in braille (including musical notes)! Braille can also change the typographical emphasis of a word or sentence (bold, italics, etc.)
- Braille takes up more space than the printed–Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is 72 Volumes in braille!
- There are two “levels” of braille. Uncontracted braille, where each letter is represented by a braille cell, and contracted braille, a “shorthand” version of braille, where common letter combinations or words are represented by one or more cells.
Eye conditions are remarkably common. The World Health Organization estimates that globally, at least 1 billion people have a near or distance vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.
Persons with vision impairment are more likely than those without to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage. Not meeting their needs, or fulfilling their rights, has wide-reaching consequences: vision loss often represents a lifetime of inequality, poorer health, and barriers to education and employment.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The Convention considers Braille essential for education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and social inclusion. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, further pledges that no one will be left behind in the aim to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives.
In November 2018 (Resolution A/RES/73/161), the General Assembly decided to proclaim 4 January as World Braille Day, recognizing that the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms relies on an inclusive written promotion.