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World Braille Day
January 4, 2014
World Braille Day: For about 200 years blind people have learned to read and write using braille. Braille is a tactile alphabet system of 6 dots in a 3X2 grid used to represent letters, numbers and symbols for most of the world’s languages. It plays an essential role in the lives of millions of blind people worldwide allowing them to access literature and study alongside their peers. Braille was invented by a young blind man, Louis Braille, when he was 15 years old (in 1824). At the time Louis was enrolled in the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He wanted the right to read books just like other children and so he worked to create a tactile alphabet that would be easy to learn, replicate and use.
For blind students braille is the key to literacy and future employment; however, current copyright laws require schools to get permission to reproduce books in accessible formats such as braille or large print. If countries have no copyright exceptions for blind users this creates a major barrier for the education of blind and partially sighted children who may not get access to the books and learning materials they need.