Associations of the blind are mobilizing for the development of braille

Almost two centuries ago, at only 16 years old, the young Louis Braille invented a new type of writing for people affected, like him, by visual impairment. Until then, only sonography was taught in specialized institutes for the blind. But, as explained by Anne Renoud, president of the Federation of the blind and amblyopic people of France (FAF), the oral is not enough. “People need to understand that there are a lot of symbols that you can’t transcribe orally, like computer code or mathematical symbols. »

For a promotion of braille at school

Braille “is just another typeface, just as grammatical and orthographic as others”, recalls Anne Renoud. Composed of dots in relief, arranged in columns, this writing makes it possible to create up to 64 combinations, thus transcribing the letters of the alphabet, but also accents, punctuation, mathematical signs and even musical notes.

This invention has enabled many visually impaired people to integrate socially and professionally. But not enough for dedicated associations. Anne Renoud recalls, for example, that nearly 50% of them do not work.

By organizing a day of commemoration entitled “The return of Monsieur Braille to the Pantheon”, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his pantheonization, they hope to continue to raise awareness and propose improvements.

One of the priorities put forward concerns education. The FAF asks promotion of braille at schoole “. However, regrets Anne Renoud, there are not enough teachers specialized in this discipline. “Some departments don’t have any, in others there are some but they only offer one or two hours of lessons per week: that’s not enough to learn to read! »

These shortcomings contribute, according to the associations, to “add handicap to handicap”, since they hinder the school and professional integration of these young people. Of 1.7 million visually impaired people, including 300,000 blind people, only 15% master Braille, according to the National Institute for Blind Youth (INJA).

Public authorities arrested

Anne Renoud insists on the importance of training specialized teachers, especially in the context ofa school that wants to be inclusive. For the same purpose, another audience must be taken into account, she recalls: It is also necessary to sensitize their comrades, if one does not want to see them excluded… At school one learns to read, but also to live! »

The various associations involved in the subject have challenged the Ministry of Education on several occasions. They recently sent a letter to the new minister, Pap Ndiaye, before being received by his office. According to Anne Renoud, this one showed “listening” and “interested in proposals”.

The various organizations also make demands in the field of culture. They regret that only 6% of literature is accessible to blind people. Contact was also made with the Ministry of Culture, which has undertaken to create an “adapted book portal” in 2025.

This anniversary day was thus an opportunity to put these proposals back in the spotlight, through the organization of symposiums, awareness-raising workshops and tribute ceremonies. A final action was scheduled for Wednesday at the end of the day, at the Paris metro station “Duroc”. The various associations are calling for it to be renamed “Louis Braille – Duroc”. A file on which Rachida Dati, the mayor of the 7th arrondissement, has promised the associations to work.

Associations of the blind are mobilizing for the development of braille