World Braille Day - History, Significance, Theme

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 3, 2022, 4:53

World Braille Day is celebrated annually on January 4 to commemorate the birth of Louis Braille. Louis Braille was the inventor of the braille system of reading and writing used by blind people throughout the world. UNESCO declared January 4 as World Braille Day to raise awareness about the importance of braille as a tool for inclusion in the education and life of persons with visual impairment.

World Braille Day Significance

Louis Braille was born in 1809 in Coupvray, France. At three, he injured his eye with an awl, and the injury got infected and spread to his other eye. Within a year, Louis was completely blind.

Louis attended the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, where he became frustrated with the available communication methods. Braille developed his new method at this school in 1824 when he was only 15 years old. A night watchmaker named Charles Barbier visited the school and described a code called "night writing" that he had developed for soldiers to communicate silently at night without a light. Barbier's code used 12 raised dots arranged in a rectangle representing different combinations of sounds or letters.

Unfortunately, soldiers found it difficult to identify and interpret these dot patterns quickly enough while under pressure on the battlefield, and the army never adopted Barbier's system. On this day, governments, organisations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to organise activities that promote the use of braille.

What is Braille?

Braille is perhaps the most critical tool in allowing blind and partially sighted individuals access to information, education, and employment. It's a tactile writing system that can be used by people who are both blind and have low vision and enables them to read and write independently.

Through World Braille Day, people campaign for braille to be made available globally so that everyone can benefit from this simple but powerful literacy tool. They want governments worldwide to recognise braille as a fundamental human right that will allow blind or partially sighted individuals to make their mark on society just like everyone else.

Why Is Braille Literacy Critical?

Irina Bokova, the former UNESCO Director-General, said that braille literacy is a fundamental human right and a crucial factor in achieving the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Braille is a fundamental tool for literacy, independence, and employability. It can be used to learn any subject from science to literature and includes music, maths, money, and social media. It enables blind and partially sighted people to have the same access to education as their sighted peers, improving access to work and social activities.

World Braille Day 2021 Theme

The campaign for world braille day 2021 was to raise awareness of braille and encourage more blind and partially sighted people to learn braille and educate others about its importance. The theme of this year's celebration emphasised the importance of braille as a key that unlocks opportunities for persons with disabilities to gain literacy skills and education, compete in labour markets and contribute to society on an equal basis with others.\

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FAQs on World Braille Day

Q.1) What is Braille?

Braille is a writing system used by people who are visually impaired. It is traditionally written on embossed paper. Braille-users can read computer screens and other electronic supports thanks to refreshable braille displays.

Q.2) When is World Braille Day celebrated every year?

World Braille Day is celebrated on January 4 every year.

Q.3) Why do people celebrate World Braille Day?

People celebrate World Braille Day to commemorate Louis Braille, who invented the language, and raise awareness about the importance of improving access to braille books and technology.