In an era marked by digital and technological advances, Braille must remain an essential tool to build a more accessible and inclusive society for blind and partially sighted persons. Going deeper with that assessment, Braille also plays a key role in the acquisition of skills and personal development of people with visual impairment.
As part of our commitment to encourage its promotion, our organization has been very active in this area during the last month. Firstly, we drafted a new position paper about the access to reading and using Braille in collaboration with our Braille Working Group. This document highlights the utility of Braille in everyday life and insists on its value as an educational tool and a factor for inclusion. It concludes with a series of demands on the use and teaching of Braille and how to maximise its complementarity with modern technological advances.
While drafting this paper launched on September 28th (the International Day for Universal Access to Information), EBU also participated in Braille-related events in France.
First, we were invited by La Fédération des Aveugles et Ambylopes de France (an association within our French member, CFPSAA) to a webinar about accessible reading on September 5th. During the session, the hosts gave an overview of the current legal background of that subject, citing the Marrakesh Treaty and the EU 2019/882 directive as some of the main tools on an international level. In line with what we pinpointed in our recent position paper, participants also stated the need to promote the teaching of Braille from a young age, underlining the role of cultural institutions in fostering tactile reading among children with visual impairment.
Then, ten days later, our organization participated in a round table in the French Ministry of Culture. Having gathered several stakeholders from the non-profit sector in France, the objective of the meeting was to discuss Braille’s potential registration as cultural heritage at UNESCO. In order to protect its role as a tool to ensure access to education for visually impaired people, attendants pinpointed the need to cooperate worldwide to achieve this goal. Our Executive Director, Lars Bosselmann, made his contribution during the discussion, highlighting EBU’s advocacy work around the promotion of Braille and citing our recent assessment work with the European Central Bank for the design of more accessible Euro Notes where Braille could also play a role.
For more information about our commitments in this area, remember to visit the braille promotion section in our website.