Braille House Bringing Tactual Literacy to a Whole New Level
Braille House is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year and this amazing not-for-profit organisation, continues to provide essential services to the blind and low vision community across Australia.
It was way back in 1897, when a motivated group of seven women met in Brisbane to form the Queensland Braille Writing Association (now known as Braille House).
The group included Mrs. Sharp who was the Head Teacher at the School for the Blind and Lady Lamington, the wife of the then Governor of Queensland. Yes – the very same lady the lamington cake was named after!
Each of these determined women translated seven books into Braille and started what has now grown into a national free lending library, Braille tutoring and a transcription service.
Completely free to all Australians, the Braille House library offers books and magazines in both Braille and Moon script (a writing system for the blind, using embossed symbols mostly derived from the Latin script). They are in fact, Australia’s only producer and library of titles in Moon script.
To make it easy for borrowers, each book selected is sent free in the post with a reversible return address label.
What we love about Braille House, is that in its long 125 year history – its mission has not changed. The organisation, run mostly by volunteers, still exists to empower people who are blind or who have low vision to live with dignity and independence.
It is this belief and commitment to the written word that attracted Ambassador Rupert McCall OAM to Braille House.
According to the celebrated poet and author, “I believe every Australian should have the opportunity to pick up a book and experience the magic of reading,” McCall said.
A Braille House student who lost both her sight and hearing due to a sudden severe illness, says learning Braille has opened up her world.
“As an adult having to learn to live a completely new life can be challenging. With Braille I can send and receive email, read the news and events happening in the world, read books and I am learning to take my own affairs back. Braille gives me the ability to live an independent life again”
With an estimated near 600,000 Australians being blind or vision impaired, the efforts of organisations such as Braille House are not only inspiring, they are essential – and we wish them all the best for another amazing 125 years of service.
For more information on Braille House and their national library, head to braillehouse.org.au