Louis Braille developed a six-dot system in the early 1800s that still transforms literacy today.
Today we honor the birth of Louis Braille, born in 1809 in France. As a very young child, Louis lost his sight due to an accident in his father’s leather shop.
An eager student, Louis quickly realized he could not learn everything through listening alone. While studying at the Royal Institution for the Blind in Paris, he met Charles Barbier, a former soldier, who had invented a 12-dot system to communicate secret messages during war times. From ages 13 to 16 Louis transformed Barbier’s system into braille, a simplified six-dot system. Today braille is used internationally to open doors to literacy for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Louis’ resilience, tenacity and creativity are truly inspiring. These same qualities come to mind when I am privileged to spend time with our clients, store customers, family members and donors here at the Council. Losing sight means entering a world of learning -- finding new ways to accomplish daily living tasks that used to be habitual and discovering creative ways to keep doing the things they love.
This new year, I invite you to reach out to the Council when we can be of support and service. We hope that you might also join our efforts, through volunteering or offering a gift. Together, we can carry Louis Braille’s legacy of opening doors for people in the blind and visually impaired community well into the future.