World Braille Day, January 4th 2024

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Arvel Grant
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Empowering Through Inclusion and Diversity

Two hundred years ago, Louis Braille was born in France on January 4th 1824. Braille became blind as a young child. However, he quickly adjusted to his new way of life. At the age of 15 (in 1824, He invented the Braile code.

The code is a system of raised dots, used in educating children with severe vision loss, to read and write.

In a briefing to CCB.Media, Arvel Grant (CEO of CCB-Eye Care Caribbean) noted that,  braille was introduced to the Caribbean in 1911, by James Agustus Alves, A Guyanese educator who lost his sight in a school-yard accident. Grant observed that, following his loss of sight, James Alves travelled to England for adjustment to blindness training. According to Grant, upon returning to the Caribbean, James Alves embarked on a regional campaign to introduce services for blind people across the region.

The CEO noted that Braille has become common place. According to him, Braille can be found: On ATMs,

In elevators and museums; On hotel room doors and other signs; As an option on restaurant menus and in airline safety briefings.

He noted that, because of the wide-spread use of Braille in the education of children across the Caribbean,

an increasing number of Caribbean citizens (who are blind) are making significant contributions in: Government and politics; Academia and the wider fields comprehensive of education; Business management; Journalism and the wider legacy and social media;   business, agriculture and  the arts.

He emphasized that all families which include children with severe vision loss, should ensure that the child learn to read and write braille, as part of its education; while acquiring skills in Accessible information technologies. Grant is urging anyone wishing to learn Braille,  to seek-out the many online Braille instruction services. According to him, often, such services are delivered without charge.

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