World Braille Day is observed on 4 January each year to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of the Braille language, Louis Braille. It is aimed at creating awareness of the significance of the braille language as a means of communication. It is a reminder that all people, irrespective of their abilities, must have equal opportunities and rights to the same services. Unfortunately, many offices, banks, educational institutions, and restaurants are still not braille-friendly.
The Braille alphabet is a tactile representation of six dots, used in various combinations to denote alphabets and numbers. These dots can be easily felt by hand and can, thus, help the blind read and write independently.
This system was created by Louis Braille, who was born in 1809. Unfortunately, he lost his vision in one eye due to an accident when he was three years old. He was using an awl to make a hole in a piece of leather when the instrument struck him in the eye. Despite the medical treatment, the infection spread to his other eye too. By the time Braille was just five, he lost vision in both his eyes. However, he did not let this deter him from pursuing education – he attended the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris.
In 1821, Braille was acquainted with a method of communication designed by Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army. A combination of dots and dashes were used to create patterns that could be interpreted by touch, aiding soldiers in communicating without speaking. Braille took inspiration from this system and created his own language when he was just 15. This language is now used in almost every nation across the world.
What an inspiring story of a man who did not let any unfortunate incident come in the way of helping others!