EBU(Junior Group) Fine Work
Life with braille
Russian Federation Valeriy Voilochnikov (15, Male)

Dear reader, I would like to tell you the story about a boy who perceives the world around him with the tips of his fingers almost from his birth. It was a real shock for his parents to learn that their son lost his sight; however they collected themselves and continued to live. Is there any difference in bringing up blind and sighted children? The answer is no, one should have more tolerance, love and spirit. Besides vision nature gave people senses such as hearing, smelling touch, thanks to them their son could get information about the world around him. The parents had to work hard for a long time to enable a small child to become a mature, intellectually and physically developed personality, who could live independently, get an education, find employment, start a family and become a full member of society.
At first sight nothing extraordinary happened in this family, but it was not always the case… The mother talked to the boy from morning till evening, commenting her actions, describing and explaining a new object that her son touched. When no topics for discussion were left, she read poems, and fairy-tales for him, and sang songs without realizing that she was developing her son’s memory. The father used to take his little son to the nearest park with sports equipment for a walk. The people who passed by could not imagine that the bar or sporting staircase was used by a blind child who was doing different exercises. On week-ends the whole family went for a walk to the forest or to summer cottage. The parents made the boy listen to the birds singing and touch everything he could touch: a leaf, a flower, grass, pet a kitten, a worm or even a frog. It was necessary for their son, since only in such a way could he get an impression of the world around him, the world he had to live in.
Time passed by, the boy was already seven and the parents faced the issue of getting an education for their son. The boy had to be taught according to a special system, but there were no such educational institutions in the city and the parents did not want to send their little child to boarding school to another city. What could be done? And here the extraordinary event took place. … They had a chance to get acquainted with a remarkable teacher who taught Braille independently and was very tolerant and industrious. The lessons seemed very complicated for the boy who did not realize at that time that Braille was the very key which would open the door to the future for him and help him be completely independent.
Days, weeks, months passed, the mother and father were glad to watch the combinations of dots transferred into words and sentences under their son’s fingers, as he began to write and read according to school curriculum. The boy was keen on reading books, especially on history and biology brought by his father from a special library for the blind and partially sighted.
In five years a Center for distance learning for children with disabilities was opened in their city and the boy continued his education there. A new remarkable teacher appeared, kind people who did their best to interest the boy in their subject. The boy was fond of reading and getting excellent marks, but he wanted something else. “Why not try to participate in different competitions at international and national level together with ordinary children”, suggested his mother. And he became the prize winner, and the parents and teachers were proud of him. While doing lessons on biology, the boy, already a young man, faced one and the same problem – lack of Braille literature on biology. He was interested in books on the nature in his motherland, but there were no books on this subject. “If there are no such books, why not to create them?”, the boy thought.
So, the young man got the idea of making a manual on the nature of his region, written in Braille and supplemented with relief pictures. This idea was supported by his biology teacher and his parents, and long hard work started which would take more than a year.… The young boy decided to write one volume per year of his future book. He wrote 90 pages in Braille, made 12 relief applications, but it was only half the work. He was confident he would finish the book and give it to the library. He really wishes that once upon a time a child or maybe a grown up (the same as him) will come to the library, take his creation from the shelf, read it and learn a lot of interesting facts about the most beautiful places and nature of his region which he or she cannot see, but can feel thanks to this book and the Braille system.
This is a dream gradually becoming a reality. But this dream would have remained a dream, if a unique system had never existed, the system created by a fifteen year-old boy from France named Louis Braille, the great Frenchman, “The Night Child” who dedicated his short life to visually impaired people giving them the opportunity to read and to write.
With this, dear reader, I would like to finish my story…. No one knows the fate of this boy, no one knows, but let’s hope he will achieve a lot in his life and his dreams will come true…..


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