ABU(Senior group) Fine Work
Braille in the Modern World
Iran Elham Yosefi (31/Female)
Despite undeniable changes in the lives of people with visual impairment which have been realised by modern technologies, I still think of Braille as an inseparable component of my life and identity. Braille is not simply a method of writing making it possible for us to receive and impart knowledge or information; Braille is the symbol of our existence as an influencing social group who seeks visibility and participation.
In other words, this is true that many accessibility issues can be resolved benefiting from computer sciences; but Braille has some unique features that justify its teaching, learning and using. In the first place and as pointed above, Braille represents our social identity. Finding a Braille sign on a drug package or on the buttons of an elevator or a cash machine is the most effective way to convey the message that: “we are there as people who desire equal rights and equal opportunities and are ready to play key roles in our societies.”
On the other hand, Braille may help raise self-consciousness among the visually impaired. When someone with visual impairment finds happily that all safety notices in the airplane are already printed in Braille, or when receives her medical report in Braille, she clearly understands that her society cares about her rights and needs. This is true that such information can reach her through many other resources, but turning them into Braille make her feel that her community believes in her values as a human being exactly as others.
Furthermore, there is an exceptional pleasure in reading something by your own fingers that no artificial voice or even the best recording can bring about. Touching and feeling the words is a unique experience that people with visual impairment should not be deprived of simply because there are less expensive or faster ways of communicating information to them. This is essential especially for children with visual impairment to hold their favourite storybooks in their hands and read them aloud to their classmates. This is also the case for poetries and music pieces.
Transferring the information in Braille also ensures more protection for our private lives. If I receive my bank statement in Braille, I can make sure that nobody will have access to my financial information without my consent, but this would not be the case if they send it in audio files. With Braille, I can have a diary that cannot be checked by others even if left open on the dining table.
All in all, I believe Braille as a part of my being. Through this way, I can share my hopes and regrets, my thoughts and beliefs, and above all, my dreams to change the world. Braille is the symbol of my life and reminds me that life is waiting for me to live it. I can write by my own, touch what I have written, and read it aloud to myself when alone, to my loved ones, and to the whole world.