The 4th of January, world over, is observed as World Braille Day. On this day we remember the birth and times of Louis Braille, the Frenchman who invented Braille code in 1821.
The marvelous inventor was blinded at the age of 3 in a freak accident and by the age of 10, got admission at the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris.
But rather than accepting his handicap, Louis put all his energies at developing a system consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in six-position cells. He was all of 15 at that time. The system was based on Charles Barbier’s night writing system.
Later, Braille became a teacher at the same school and by 1854, Braille’s six dots system was adopted at the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris.
World Braille Day
Soon, he came to be called the father of Braille – a language for the visually challenged. Each year on January 4th, on his birth anniversary, the world extends its respect to the person who made life so much easier for the visually impaired.
Adjusted over time, braille is now easier to read and used all over the world.
The importance of World Braille Day
For people who are handicapped, it is a demotivating to sustain everyday living. The same was the case with visually challenged people too. But with Braille, they are now able to conduct themselves independently and with respect. World Braille Day is a reminder of the importance of accessibility and independence for people who are blind or visually impaired.
As of today, people have accepted them as a part of normal functioning. Even highly interactive jobs like restaurants, banks etc have opened their arms and welcomed people. All thanks to the braille.
World Braille Day spreads awareness about braille and other accessible forms of communication. It is a reminder that we need to ensure that we make every aspect of living, accessible and easy for the challenged.
Unfortunately, Louis Braille didn’t get to see just how helpful his invention became. He died in 1852; two years before his alma mater, France’s Royal Institute for the Blind Youth, adopted a braille curriculum.
Today, ATM’s, lifts and even watches have braille engraved on them.