Personalities Page 75

What he didn’t realize was that his invention would revolutionize reading and writing for the blind as it used a person’s sense of touch to read.

Later on Braille found out about this system and realized that the coding was quite difficult to master and that it could limit communication to an extent because of the complexity of the system. Braille came up with a simplified alternative which is known to us as the Braille system today. Ironically, he used the same tool that had blinded him when he was a child, an awl (a tool that is used to puncture holes in different materials; for example leather).

One question still remains. How successful have these efforts been? Although educating the blind goes back to thousands of years ago, it was in the 18th century when schools in which the blind could be educated were built.

Yorkshire School for the Blind was the first school to focus on proper education of the blind. The school was established in 1835, and others soon followed. A few years later, in 1983, a law which obliged the blind to receive education from the age of 5 until the age of 16 was passed in the UK. Later, the Braille system was improved and as a result more schools started educating the blind all over the world.

From a small number of schools for the blind and partially sighted, available only to those who could afford it, we have reached a time where the blind have access to education regardless of where they are or their status in society.

These changes may not have taken place in a relatively short time, but one thing is for certain. With the advances of technology over the past few decades, this world has become a much better place to live for those who are blind or partially sighted. And that’s why the future for them is one we can all look forward to.