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World Braille Day to be observed on January 4
World Braille Day (WBD) will be observed on January 4 to mark the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the Frenchman who invented the code in 1821. Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident at a very young age, invented braille through his zest for learning. As we know that braille helps to provide equal opportunity visually impaired people worldwide now as tool for learning.

Braille is a standard code that uses bumps and indentation on a surface to represent alphabets and numerals which can be recognized by touch. To begin with, Louis Braille’s code was arranged in small rectangular blocks called cells with raised dots in a 3 x 2 pattern that represented an alphabet, number or punctuation.

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Now, it is available on paper and is being used in all languages and subjects like basic mathematics, music and computer programming. Learning materials and books in braille have also been an integral part of inclusive education in many countries.

Braille's determination and struggle to design a system of reading and writing that could bridge the gap in communication between the sighted and the visually impaired led to the development of a viable code to be read through touch.

He had said, “Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about."

The World Blind Union (WBU), a global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted, has partner organizations working for the blind in 190 countries. The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that persons with disabilities have the right to full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and are required to be included in development agenda in all countries.

On the occasion of WBD, general public as well as the United Nations, Member States, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders are urged to ensure the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in development framework.

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