News  World Blind Union Statement on World Braille Day - Celebrating 200 Years of Braille

  • World Blind Union
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
World Blind Union logo with the text: World Blind Union

This World Braille Day, the World Blind Union (WBU) commemorates the 200th anniversary of the invention of Braille, marking two centuries since Louis Braille, at the mere age of 15, completed the system of writing that revolutionized the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted. In recognition of this remarkable invention, WBU celebrates the enduring legacy of Braille as a vital tool for literacy, independence, and empowerment.
Martine Abel-Williamson, President of WBU, reflects on the impact of Braille: "As we observed the wide release of Lego Braille Bricks in 2023, we saw the joy and learning that Braille can bring to families and friends of those who are blind or partially sighted. Braille is not just a writing system for those who are blind; it's a bridge that connects communities. By integrating Braille into fun and educational products, we make it a positive, shared experience, underscoring its value in everyday life."
World Braille Day, officially recognized since 2019, is observed every January 4th to raise awareness about the significance of Braille as a vital means of communication. Braille plays a crucial role in the full realization of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of blind and partially sighted people. This day serves not only to mark the invention of Braille but also to remind us of the ongoing need to support and enhance access to Braille literacy, technology, and related services. 
Kim Charlson, President of the WBU North America and Caribbean Region and Chair of the World Braille Council, emphasizes the need for greater access to Braille: "As we commemorate two centuries of Braille, our focus must remain on increasing access. The Marrakesh Treaty has been instrumental in improving access to published works, but more needs to be done to ensure that Braille resources are available to all who need them. Access to Braille is access to knowledge, and it should be a right for all individuals who are blind or partially sighted."
On World Braille Day, WBU calls on governments, policymakers, educators, and all stakeholders to acknowledge the critical role of Braille and commit to improving access to Braille for blind and partially sighted people of all ages, ensuring they have the tools needed to participate fully in society. Additionally, on this day, we take this opportunity to reaffirm the WBU's own commitment to ensuring that Braille remains an accessible and relevant tool for education, freedom of expression, and social inclusion. WBU will continue to celebrate the importance of Braille and advocate for greater access to this life-changing tool.

Marc Workman
CEO, World Blind Union

  • World Blind Union

    The World Blind Union is the global organization representing approximately 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Committed to promoting the rights and well-being of those who are blind or partially sighted, WBU advocates for the inclusion and empowerment of this community in all aspects of society.

  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind 

    MCB serves people in Massachusetts who are legally blind by providing access to employment opportunities and social rehabilitation with the goal of increasing independence and full community participation.
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