The United Nations has estimated that about 39 million people are blind globally, while another 1.3 billion people live with some form of near vision impairment. The UN said this in a statement at the mark of the first-ever official World Braille Day, aimed to underscore the importance of written language for human rights.
It said, “Around the world, 39 million people are blind, and another 253 million have some sort of vision impairment. For them, Braille provides a tactical representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols so blind and partially-sighted people are able to read the same books and periodicals printed as are available in standard text form.”
Six dots represent each letter, number, even musical and mathematical symbols, to allow the communication of important written information to ensure competency, independence and equality.
The General Assembly in November 2018 has proclaimed January 4, as a day to showcase fully the human rights of visually-impaired and partially-sighted people. It is also a means to bring written language to the forefront as a critical prerequisite for promoting fundamental freedoms.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that people who are visually impaired are more likely than those with full sight to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantages which can amount to a lifetime of inequality. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities cites Braille as a means of communication; and regards it as essential in education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and social inclusion for those who use it.