Visually Impaired People Day is annually observed on June 6. It brings attention to people with vision impairment or loss and hopes to create supportive ecosystems for them. The day also spreads awareness about the feelings of isolation visually impaired people often struggle with and aims to help others understand and empathize with these people’s struggles.
History of Visually Impaired People Day
The German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (D.B.S.V.) is a self-help organization founded in 1912 that aims to help and support people who suffer from diseases that lead to vision loss or those who might be at risk. It advocates for providing accessibility to visually impaired people in all walks of life, supports the development of vision-assisting devices, promotes inclusive education for partially sighted children, helps in the development of vision-support services, and raises awareness about the visually impaired community. The organization represents 150,000 blind and over 500,000 visually impaired people.
The D.B.S.V organized the first Visually Impaired People Day in 1998. Since its first observance, Visually Impaired People Day has brought sighted and visually impaired people together to encourage an exchange of ideas. The holiday allows visually impaired and blind people to share their concerns with each other. It also allows these people to convey their concerns to the D.B.S.V., so the organization can focus on those areas.
Over the course of two decades, Visually Impaired People Day has brought attention to issues like education for the visually impaired, braille literacy, regulations regarding the use of assistance animals, and the development of devices that could help visually impaired people perform everyday tasks. It has helped the D.B.S.V. focus on areas of concern, implement measures that fulfill visually impaired seniors’ needs, and ensure a better future for everyone challenged by vision-related problems.
Visually Impaired People Day timeline
Milton dictates “Paradise Lost” to his daughters after going blind.
Valentin Haüy opens L'Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, or National Institute for Blind Children, in Paris to help blind students read.
Louis Braille invents a writing system for blind people consisting of characters embossed on paper in lines.
The D.B.S.V. carries out the first official campaign to support blind or visually impaired people.
Visually Impaired People Day FAQs
Is there a day for blind people?
World Sight Day creates awareness about vision impairment and blindness. It is observed every year on the second Thursday of October.
What is vision impairment?
A person’s vision is impaired when their eyesight cannot be corrected or returned to “normal.” Simply put, visually impaired people are unable to see clearly through their eyes.
Is it offensive to say “blind?”
Terms like ‘blind’ and ‘blindness’ are medical terms and, thus, not offensive. “Visually impaired” is also okay to use.
How to Observe Visually Impaired People Day
Offer help to those who need it
Ask visually impaired people if they need help crossing the street or shopping, and give them ample space to move around on sidewalks. It’s the little things that make a difference.
Spread awareness about the holiday
Empathy begins with awareness. So, share resources and stories about Visually Impaired People Day among your network.
Support a charity
Support charities that work with blind or visually impaired people. Donate generously — either money or your time.
5 Unique Facts About Braille
It is not a language
Braille is an alphabet with Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese versions, among several other languages.
It was inspired by military code
Louis Braille took inspiration from “night writing” — a 10th-century French army code enabling communication without speaking or using candles.
It has two versions
Braille has two versions: contracted and non-contracted.
It takes up more space
The braille version of “Harry Potter” comprises 10 volumes.
There’s braille for math
The Nemeth Code, invented by Abraham Nemeth, encodes math, calculus, and algebra.
Why Visually Impaired People Day is Important
It creates inclusive societies
Everyone deserves a life of dignity regardless of ability. Visually Impaired People Day works towards a more just and humane world for everyone.
It encourages dialogue
Conversations reduce the stigma around the differently-abled, and Visually Impaired People Day is the medium that allows these conversations to occur. It encourages communities to ask questions and educate themselves.
It inspires thought
For blind and visually-impaired people, even mundane tasks can seem herculean. Visually Impaired People Day allows us to learn about the everyday struggles of visually impaired and blind people. It helps us become aware of how we could help make their lives easier.
Visually Impaired People Day dates