World Braille Day - Facts for UPSC

Every year on January 4th, World Braille Day is commemorated to honour the importance of Braille as a medium of communication for the blind and partially sighted people. Since 2019, the United Nations has observed World Braille Day. The birth anniversary of Louis Braille is also commemorated on World Braille Day. He was a French schoolteacher who, after having been blinded at a young age, devised the Braille System.

The topic has a high probability of being asked as a Current Affairs Question in IAS Prelims and Mains.

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History of World Braille Day

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared World Braille Day for the first time in 2019. Louis Braille, a French teacher who established the Braille System, is honoured on this day. Because of a vehicle accident while he was very young, Louis Braille became blind. The Hauy System, which was a Latin system created on thick paper or leather, was used by the blind and visually challenged prior to the Braille system. The Hauy System, on the other hand, allowed people to read but not write. The Hauy System’s lack of technicality inspired Louis Braille to create a more user friendly Braille system.

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Note: IAS exam could ask basic facts about this topic as it holds international as well as domestic importance.

Significance

World Braille Day is commemorated to increase awareness of the importance of Braille as a form of communication for persons who are partially sighted or blind, as well as to fully realise their human rights. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, visually impaired people have greater poverty rates and experience a lifetime of inequity. During the pandemic, the problem has become even worse. The COVID-19 epidemic has also highlighted the importance of producing critical information in accessible formats, such as audio and Braille. Due to a lack of accessibility to the precautions and instructions, the absence of such safeguards can increase the risk of exposure for visually impaired persons.

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