ISLAMABAD: The World Braille Day will be celebrated on January 4 (Saturday) across the world to recognise the contributions of Louis Braille in helping the visually impaired people to read and write.
The World Braille Day celebrates the life and achievements of Louis Braille, who invented the Braille code for the visually impaired.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) around the world use this day to create awareness about the challenges faced by visually impaired individuals and to encourage businesses and governments to create economic and social opportunities for the blind.
NGOs and disability organisations hold competitions and public outreach events. Schoolteachers inform the students about the history of Braille.
Braille is a code that uses bumps and indentation on a surface to represent alphabets and letters and can be recognised by touch.
Louis Braille, a French man who lost his sight in an accident at a very young age, invented the code.
Before Braille invented this form of communication, visually impaired people read and wrote using the Haüy system, which embossed Latin letters on thick paper or leather. This was a complicated system that required much training and only allowed people to read, not write. Discouraged by this, Braille at the age of 15 invented the Braille code.
While there are now several different versions of Braille, Louis Braille’s code was arranged in small rectangular blocks called cells with raised dots in a 3x2 pattern. Each cell represented an alphabet, number or punctuation.
Since Braille is a code, all languages and even certain subjects like mathematics, music and computer programming can be read and written in Braille.
According to estimates, around 1.5 million people in Pakistan are visual disabilities. It is also projected that by the year 2020, there will be about 54 million blind persons aged up to 60 years across the world.
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