Bicentenary of the Birth of Luis Braille

Bicentenary of the Birth of Luis Braille  

Two hundred years ago in Coupvray, near Paris, Luis Braille was born. At the age of four he became blind after an accident. Despite this physical challenge, at the age of ten he started going to school. Given that he could not attend an ordinary school, he was accepted at the Institution des Jeunes Aveugles (Institute for the Blind in Paris) where the Hauy method for teaching the blind was used, a system which did not allow for writing. At the age of only 18, Braille became a teacher at the Institute. Two years later he developed a simpler and more intuitive learning method compared to the Hauy method. This new method included a system for writing using a combination of six raised dots representing every letter of the alphabet. Later he expanded the system to include musical notation with a method of translating the symbols into musical notes. Two years after his death France adopted his system, and at the World Congress of Education for the Blind held in Paris in 1878 it was declared a universal method. For the first time ever, a Vatican stamp will be issued with characters in Braille expressing: «Braille - SCV - 0,65».