It is estimated by the World Health Organization, that globally approximately 1.3 billion people live with some form of distance or near vision impairment. People with vision impairment are more likely than those without to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage.
The impact of vision loss extends far beyond the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment. For the 39 million people who are blind and the 253 million who have a vision impairment, vision loss often represents a lifetime of inequality. People with vision impairment often have poorer health, and face barriers to education and employment.
Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In November 2018 the General Assembly decided to proclaim 4 January as World Braille Day in recognition that promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of access to written language is a critical prerequisite to the full realization of human rights for blind and partially sighted people.
The first official World Braille Day is celebrated on 4 January 2019.
What is Braille?
Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font. Use of braille allows the communication of important information to and from individuals who are blind or partially sighted, ensuring competency, independence and equality.
Braille is a means of communication for blind persons, as reflected in article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is essential in the context of education, freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information and written communication, as well as for the social inclusion of blind persons, as reflected in articles 21 and 24 of the Convention.
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