Can you read this? World Braille Day

Written by on 22nd January 2018

Stacey McMaster highlights the importance of World Braille Day

You are reading this page. You can see. Now imagine if you couldn’t, it’s a hard prospect. Yet this is the reality of around 39 million people across the world today. You can’t see your friends or family, your own face or even read printed writing. For a long time many couldn’t read a book without taking agonizing hours to do so.

To be able to at all, they would have to have it read to them. This, however, all changed for the better due to the efforts of a man named Louis Braille. That’s why on January 4, we celebrate World Braille Day on Louis Braille birthday.

He created a form of communication writing that allowed blind or visually impaired people to read. His system was first developed in 1821 and remains virtually unchanged to this day. Louis Braille was blind but was able to master his condition and helped others throughout his life as a teacher at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in France.

Though it’s not a public holiday anywhere in the world it is used by governments and charities across the globe to help raise awareness about the issues facing the blind. The Sunderland and County Durham Royal Society for the Blind began in 1873 with the original mission “to promote the spiritual welfare of the blind, to provide visits to blind people within their own homes and elsewhere, to care for sick, aged and helpless blind people and to provide suitable reading matter.”

Royal Patronage was bestowed upon the Society by Queen Victoria and in 1989 the Society became the “Sunderland and North Durham Royal Society for the Blind” which still stands today.

The society still runs classes and local counselling today in Sunderland which for more information you can contact on 0191 5673939.

Article Originally Appeared In Spark Mag.

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