It’s World Braille Day! A blind teacher named Louis Braille created this tactile reading system, and now his birthday, January 4, is a day to celebrate this marvelous way to read!
Braille exists in multiple languages, and I recently had the honor of meeting Sabriye Tenberken, also blind, who invented and taught Tibetan Braille.
In the age of audiobooks and AI, do you think Braille reading will die?
(Sabriye and Haben are sitting next to each other in an auditorium, a sign behind them says, “Kanthari.” Sabriye is a white woman in her fifties with a German accent, and Haben is a Black woman in her thirties with an American accent. As Sabriye speaks, Haben is reading her words on a Braille display.)
Sabriye: So, what I really like about your approach is that you are such a Braille fan and I’m a Braille fan, too. We should both advocate for Braille and make sure that people don’t think that Braille is just old-fashioned, or something ancient. We should empower the blind to understand that Braille is a good old technology that should just be transported into the digital age.
(Typing sounds. Haben reads on the Braille display.)
Haben: There is digital Braille. We can continue modernizing Braille, and I have a Braille device right here that I’m using as a Deafblind person. It’s my access to spoken language as well as to books. Literacy starts with being able to touch the words. Being able to feel it with your fingers gives you so much more access, and I hope teachers continue teaching Braille all over the world.