World Braille Day on January 4 is celebrated to honor the birth of Braille’s inventor, Louis Braille. Braille’s gift to the world has brightened the lives of millions of people around the world who are blind or visually impaired, and they benefit from his work every day. The day also acknowledges that those with visual impairments deserve the same standard of human rights as everyone else.
History of World Braille Day
The term ‘Braille’ was dubbed after its creator. Louis Braille was a Frenchman who lost his eyesight as a child when he accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with his father’s awl. From the age of 10, he spent time at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in France, where he formulated and perfected the system of raised dots that eventually became known as Braille.
Braille completed his work, developing a code based on cells with six dots, making it possible for a fingertip to feel the entire cell unit with one touch and moving quickly from one cell to the next. Eventually, Braille slowly came to be accepted throughout the world as the main form of written information for blind people. Unfortunately, Braille didn’t have the opportunity to see how useful his invention had become. He passed away in 1852, two years before the Royal Institute began teaching Braille.
Braille’s marvelous aid that opened up a world of accessibility to the blind and visually impaired was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In November 2018, January 4 was declared World Braille Day. The first-ever World Braille Day was commemorated the following year and it was celebrated as an international holiday.
The date for the event, as chosen by UNGA via a proclamation, marks Louis Braille’s birthday. We love to see people coming together to celebrate events and good causes, and World Braille Day on January 4 is one such event!
World Braille Day timeline
Louis Braille successfully completes the Braille system.
In the U.S., schools for the blind adopt Braille officially.
The Braille Box receives the internationally acclaimed Red Dot Design Award.
The first World Braille Day is observed on January 4 and is celebrated around the world.
World Braille Day FAQs
What is Braille?
Braille is a tool that uses combinations of raised dots to spell numbers and letters. It is used by blind or partially sighted persons to help them read and write.
Do all blind people know Braille?
Many people learn the important Braille symbols to be able to read signs and labels. Sadly, it is believed that only one in 10 blind people can read it.
Can I use Braille for music?
Absolutely, blind musicians can benefit greatly from learning to read music in Braille. Braille music utilizes the usual six-dot cell, but it also features its own syntax and translations.
How To Observe World Braille Day
Spread the word! Not everyone is aware of the importance of Braille. Use your social media platforms to raise awareness.
Give a gift in Braille
Donate or give a partially sighted or blind person a gift in Braille. This gift could be a book, toys, or learning tools.
Learn to read Braille
Why not learn how to read Braille? It could be beneficial, as you could use your knowledge to instruct and help someone who really needs it.
5 Amazing Facts About Braille
Braille is also an asteroid
In 1999, NASA’s Deep Space 1 flew past an asteroid on its way to photograph the Borrelly’s Comet and named it ‘9969 Braille’ in acknowledgment of Louis Braille.
Braille is not a language
Braille is an alphabet that can be used to write almost any language and versions are available in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Spanish, and more.
There are two versions
Uncontracted Braille spells out every word, whereas contracted Braille is a shorthand version that abbreviates familiar words.
There’s a version for maths and science
There’s a unique version of Braille specifically for mathematics and science, called the Nemeth Code.
There are toys in Braille
Family classics, such as Uno, Monopoly, and LEGO are available in Braille versions.
Why World Braille Day Is Important
It is a day to raise awareness
Braille, just like education, should be a legal right. Awareness of Braille’s importance cannot be overemphasized.
We recognize the blind and visually impaired
We often take our sight for granted and don’t understand the unique challenges that those with little or no sight face daily. Those with visual impairments deserve not only our recognition but also respect.
We remember Braille himself
Let's not forget to honor Louis Braille. The invaluable tool that he created has helped so many people over the years.
World Braille Day dates