World Braille Day 2021: History, significance of day and how the communication system helps visually impaired individuals
Braille is a code consisting of symbols and is written in the form of raised dots.
World Braille Day is an international observance recognised by the United Nations to spread awareness regarding the importance of Braille as a means of communication for blind and partially sighted people.
It is important for disabled people to get the full realisation of their human rights and the acceptance of Braille as a medium of communication and education is a part of that.
World Braille Day 2021: Date
Every year since 2019, the World Braille Day is observed on 4 January. Braille has been included in article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a form of necessitating “education, freedom of expression and opinion, as well as social inclusion”.
World Braille Day 2021: History
According to TimeandDate.com, a French man named Louis Braille had invented the Braille system after being blinded in an accident at a very young age. Before this system existed, blind and partially visually impaired people used to read using the Haüy system. This involved Latin letters that were embossed on thick paper or leather.
Not only was this method complicated, it only allowed people to read and not write. The shortcomings of the system encouraged Braille to come up with the easier and less complicated Braille system.
It is a code consisting of symbols and is written in the form of raised dots. People use their sense of touch to figure out the Braille code and carry on with their study or communication.
World Braille Day 2021: Significance
Every year, non-governmental organisations and the UN organise seminars and other activities to make people acquainted with the Braille code. However, in 2021 we need to consider the toll of COVID-19 on the blind and partially blind population.
As the UN puts it: “Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities—one billion people worldwide— are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community”. Hence during a global pandemic, their struggles have been manyfold.
As lockdown has kept blind people, who communicate via touch, alienated and isolated, the importance of Braille and other auditory media is more prominent.
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