Established on 4th January, World Braille Day has been celebrating the birth of Louis Braille since 2001.
The World Blind Union led the initiative to proclaim this special day commemorating braille, the tactile alphabet that was a major breakthrough for people who are blind or partially sighted. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of visual disability and places the spotlight on the many issues faced by visually impaired people with regards to inclusion, equality and autonomy. Louis Braille, who became blind at the age of 3, further developed the tactile writing system called night writing invented by Charles Barbier de La Serre. His system was based solely on sounds and did not take into account spelling, punctuation, and mathematical signs. In his work published in 1829 entitled “Procedure for writing words, music and plainsong in dots for the use of the blind and made available to them by Louis Braille”, the professor at France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth presented his own tactile writing system with raised dots that proved to be the veritable beginning of braille.
Braille is a tactile writing system in which each letter, each number and even each musical, mathematical and scientific symbol is represented using a combination of six raised dots. It provides blind and partially sighted people with access to the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.
Braille is essential in the context of education, freedom of expression and opinion, as well as social inclusion, as reflected in article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.