World Blind Union Advocates for Improved Braille Access Across the Globe
“It is difficult to be blind in industrialized countries, but it's much more difficult to be blind in poor and developing countries,” said Arnt Holte, First Vice President of the World Blind Union, speaking at the American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) national convention. He encouraged ACB members to “think globally and act locally” to find solutions for problems affecting blind and partially sighted individuals around the world.
Holte described two WBU initiatives. Its “Books without Borders” Treaty seeks to make accessible-format books like large print, audio and Braille more widely available to people everywhere. The treaty would ease some copyright restrictions and remove legal barriers to sharing resources and books across borders.
The World Blind Union is also working to improve access to Braille books in developing countries. “Braille is international,” Holte said. “We’re traveling more than ever. We need global solutions for Braille, to make Braille easier to access from all over the world. We need to open Braille for everyone.” The organization is working to unify the Braille code system to facilitate communication among blind and visually impaired individuals worldwide.
Holte stressed that these and other programs require participation from everyone. “We can help other blind people by working together to reach our common goals.”