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Celebrating Louis Braille's birthday: braille on the beach

The Blind Foundation recognises the anniversary of Louis Braille’s birthday, on the 4th January, in a unique way.

Blind Foundation
Media release
4 January 2017

The Blind Foundation recognises the anniversary of Louis Braille’s birthday, on the 4th January, in a unique way.

This year we are asking people to create braille on the beach. People all over the country are invited to write HBLB in braille on their local beach and share on social media. https://www.facebook.com/events/1839760402927426/ including #HBLB.

Louis Braille invented braille in 1824 when he was just 15 years old. His simple system of raised dots read by touch is still used by blind people to read and write. Today, braille works with computer technology like email to give blind people access to the same information as their sighted peers.

Blind Foundation Braille Ambassador, Julie Woods, says "Braille is a vital education and literacy tool for blind people that increases work opportunities. Overseas research indicates that of those blind people in full-time employment, 80 per cent read braille.”

“Braille allows us to read the same things as everyone else. Through braille we can get an education, get a job, get our independence."

Julie will be creating braille on her local beach, Middle Beach, in Dunedin.

Braille training and transcription is one of the many essential services provided by the Blind Foundation for its 12,100 clients across New Zealand.

The Blind Foundation also lobbies to promote accessible information. Unlike the US, Australia and the UK, there is no law in New Zealand to make provision of braille and other accessible formats mandatory. Worldwide, only five per cent of information is available in formats that blind people can read.

Notes to editors

Braille is the only means by which people unable to read print can be functionally literate, helping them to live full and productive lives.

Louis Braille once said, "Braille is knowledge; knowledge is power."

Only five per cent of printed material is available in formats that blind people can read. (World Blind Union)

Unlike the US, UK and Australia, New Zealand does not have any laws making the provision of braille mandatory. Personal information like bank statements must be read by friends or relatives, compromising confidentiality and independence.

All instructions for braille on the beach are on the Facebook event page

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