EBU (Senior group) Excellent Work
"The youngest Descendant"
Joke Clazing (55, female, Netherlands)

Let me introduce myself: my name is Script, mister Braille Script. Although I am almost two hundred years old, I can probably call myself one of the youngest 'offshoots' on the tree of scripts. And with all due respect, in contrast to cuneiform or hieroglyphics, I am still very much alive. Mr. Louis Braille shaped me in those days, but Joke Clazing wrote down what I would like to tell you about her and myself.
Around fifty years ago she learned how to read, passed through junior and secondary school and went on to study. Because she is blind, she would hardly have been able to do this without me. Luckily in her present life I am also of service to her in many ways. In the kitchen I appear on herb and stock jars, as well as around the selector dial of the washing machine. You will also find my little dots on LPs and CDs. She even brailles her bank and identity cards to keep them apart. Every summer I travel in her address book together with her family in a camper-van through England, so that postcards can be written. Well, I almost forgot to mention the notes with reminders, for shopping lists or meetings.
Lately, by matter of some manufacturers, you can also feel me on medicine boxes and cosmetic bottles. But for a year now I have been fulfilling a very funny task. Because Joke is working in a shelter with abandoned and dumped cats, she puts their names in braille on the door of each cage. In this way I also get a reputation with the visitors who want to give these cats a new home.
Several years ago she was reading to her children from thick books, nowadays they get their information from a screen. She frequently uses talking books, which are small and handy. That is why I briefly feared for my existence, afraid as I was to become a member of the old script society. But thank god, apparently she still reads a Braille book or magazine regularly. Sometimes she finds that more peaceful in her head than all this babble from those machines. A few years ago I was even given a new shape. Although Joke's computer talks to her, I now appear, in eight-dot form, on a little board in front of her laptop. This makes me very modern even at my age. With my help she writes letters, stories and poems. But it also keeps her informed about the spelling of each new word.
When Joke gives talks about blindness at secondary school, she hands out the names of the pupils in Braille on stickers. This is received with great enthusiasm. She reads them a little story to show how quickly it can be read. And the good old reglette is passed round, so that the students can have a go themselves. She also lets them feel a brailled egg-timer.
In her daily life, however, Joke has a few desires left. She would like to be able to read the title and the author of a talking-book herself. Or what to think about putting a figure on money?
But, who knows. The other day I heard about names on signs next to plants in several gardens. There is only one drawback. In the form of a book or magazine, these days even I often end up in the recycling bin. I sometimes regret this, because at my age I would rather not be part of this consumer society. I may not be so young any more, but I am far from worn out. Yet there are forces at work that, how shall I put it, in fact want to get rid of me. This surprises you? It surprises me too, because this concerns people who do not read with their fingers, but use their eyes.
Fortunately I hear Joke regularly say that she is so pleased with me, and many others with her, I hope. Because, no matter how content I am with modern audio technology, these kinds of things are not so easy to get ahold of in lots of places in the world. But with a little help the Braille script can be read and written anywhere.
Was signed: Braille Script


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