UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Many establishments neglect the needs of the blind and visually impaired. While it’s an unfortunate fact, it holds that many restaurants, stores, even banks don’t have braille materials for people with blindness or visual impairment.

Access to braille materials gives people with visual impairment independence and the freedom to live the lives they choose to. Without access, finances become public information, people aren’t given easy access to their basic needs, and life becomes more difficult than it needs to be.

World Braille Day

“To raise awareness of the importance of Braille for approximately 1.3 billion people living with some form of distance or near vision impairment, on Friday the United Nations is observing the first official World Braille Day.” (UN.org)

It’s celebrated on January 4th, the day that Braille’s creator was born. Day was proclaimed by the General Assembly last November. Louis Braille, born early 1809 in France, became blind after a childhood accident. He worked to create a system that is known and used across the world today.

According the World Health Organization, around the world, 39 million people are blind, and another 253 million have some sort of vision impairment. Braille provides a tactacle way to allow the communication of important written information to ensure competency, independence and equality. To honor him and those in our lives with a visual impairment, here are a few things you can do to make a difference:

Help Local Businesses

As you go about your day, put yourself in the shoes of someone who is blind. Think about the access that your local businesses give people with blindness to braille.

If the place you’re in seems as though it doesn’t have any braille options, bring it up to a manager or server. It’s something that should be in place but is often overlooked.

You might consider sharing how the importance of providing for example a braille menu – it’s likely that they’ll take it upon themselves to implement that change.

Get Involved

One of the most important things we can do is become informed and discover ways to get involved and help those in need. There’s a wealth of information on the state of accessibility for the visually impaired to braille. Some resources are listed here at Braille Works, and as this site gently reminds us via their blog, as you encounter those who are visually impaired, remember you are interacting with a whole person, not a disability.

There are many opportunities to volunteer and provide much needed support right in your own community. Take some time today to discover what the needs are locally, and consider ways you might volunteer your time or resources.

Support an Organization

Use January 4th as an opportunity to financially benefit an organization that works with the blind and visually impaired.

Pledgeling has partnered with dozens of organizations that fall into this category. Check out Guiding Eyes, who are doing amazing work by providing free top tier guide dogs to those in need.

Our Give & Grow platform allows you to seamlessly incorporate giving to your Shopify store. It takes fewer than five minutes to set up, you can choose an organization to benefit, and the giving begins. You also have the option of adding an impact calculator that shows the value of your customers’ donations by displaying what their contributions have done so far.

Contact us to learn more about how giving this year will not only do wonders for the cause you support but your business as well.

Posted by Max Martinson

I'm a writer from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Passionate about people, music, and words.