We know about braille in the UK, of course, and we regularly hear about braille in other developed English-speaking countries – the US, Australia, New Zealand and so on. But there are many other countries in the world about which we hear much less. How is braille taught? How is it produced? How easy is it to obtain? What braille technology is in use?
On Tuesday 4 January, to mark World Braille Day, we explored these issues in detail with three panellists:
- Adrijana Prokopenko is a teacher of English and English braille in a school for the blind in Macedonia.
- Yanan Yu from China has a Master’s degree in Disability Studies and is currently an intern at Bristol Braille Technology. Prior to this, she worked for a year as an Editor at China Braille Press.
- Christo de Klerk is a founding member of Braille SA, the first President of the South African Braille Authority and the Immediate Past President of the International Council on English Braille. He is a former student of the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired (formerly the School for the Blind in Worcester), where he later returned as a staff member, teaching law and braille and establishing computerised braille production. He qualified in law and practised as a lawyer before retraining as a computer programmer, and has developed braille tables for ten South African languages in Duxbury, eight in Liblouis, and one for Afrikaans for the Embraille iOS app. His last job before retirement was as an IT Specialist in one of South Africa’s banks.