Braille21 – When will I have to register?
Important dates you must not miss

University of Leipzig

Impressions of the venue: central campus of the University of Leipzig

Now, the new year 2011 has begun. In other words, the year of Braille21 has finally come. Time flies, as always, and the World Congress is just around the corner. In order to make sure you do not miss anything, we have put together a list of all the important dates and registration deadlines in this issue of the Braille Post.

Opening of Call for Papers

For the speakers the first important date is 1 February 2011, because from then on you are invited to send in your contributions. As you know from the last issue of the Braille Post, Braille21 will focus on six topic areas. The call for papers contains precise questions on each of them, so that you can adjust your contributions to them.

Registration of Exhibitors

The registration for the exhibitors who take part in the exhibition of adaptive technologies during the congress will also start on 1 February 2011. The exhibition booths will be located in the foyer, right in front of the congress rooms. The participants will surely be looking forward to getting an exclusive view of the latest braille developments during the World Congress Braille21.

Registration for »A Market of Opportunities«

A very special part of the World Congress Braille21 will be the event »A Market of Opportunities«. Here, anyone can take the opportunity to present their very personal innovative ideas around braille at a small exhibition booth that is free of charge. So if you have developed a unique teaching method or a new type of product, do not hesitate to get in touch! Registration for this starts on 1 February 2011 as well.

Registration of Participants

The other participants of the congress will have to wait a little longer, as their registration period starts on 1 April 2011. We recommend you to book early, because until 31 May there will be an early bird registration period with a reduced conference fee. However, even those who need more time to decide don’t have to worry at all, because registrations will be possible until 31 August 2011.

Braille21 – Dates, Dates, Dates

Call for papers and registration of speakers
2011/02/01 – 2011/05/31
Registration of exhibitors
2011/02/01 – 2011/05/31
Registration for »A Market of Opportunities«
2011/02/01 – 2011/05/31
Registration of participants
2011/04/01 – 2011/08/31
Please note: early bird discount 2011/04/01 – 2011/05/31

Please find detailed information about all the events and registration proceedings on our website at All the registration forms are available there as well.

Braille Ambassadors from all over the World for Braille21
Braille Ambassador Katrin Dinges, a blind student with a hearing impairment, explains what Braille means to her

In each issue of the Braille Post we introduce one of the Braille Ambassadors. They are people from all over the world who share their positive experiences using the braille system. Expressing their very personal views, they encourage the discussion on braille and thereby bring the World Congress Braille21 into every corner of the earth. In this issue you can read from Katrin Dinges, a 24-year-old student of German philology and European Ethnology from Berlin, Germany.

»Braille is important for me every day. Without, my life would be much more difficult and exhausting. Because of my hearing impairment, I cannot understand spoken texts very well, so it is a good help that I can also read with my fingertips. I have never liked the speech synthesisers, but also natural spoken language is often difficult to understand for me. I could not read only half of the literature I read at the moment if I were not able to read braille. Braille has supported me for eleven years and I am very grateful that it exists. I wish all blind people the possibility to learn it, so that they can experience its great advantages for their everyday lives as I have done through the last years. It does not matter how old anyone is. Braille can be learned by everybody. It helps to reach a new status of independence from other people’s eyes and voices.«

Braille book of the year
A braille project of the Braille21 partner Vision Australia

In November 2010, Vision Australia celebrated the contribution of the Australian literary industry to increasing accessibility for people who are print disabled by presenting the inaugural national Braille Book of the Year Award. In association with the Miles Franklin Literary Award, this year’s winner was selected by clients of Vision Australia from a list of 80 titles. The Braille Book of the Year was awarded to Alexis Wright for her novel »Carpentaria«. The fact that the book was written by an Indigenous author was also a cause for celebration.

Julie Rae
General Manager, Community Information Access, Vision Australia

Five Questions for ...
Jahawar Lal Kaul, chair of the World Braille Council (WBC)

Under this heading, each issue of the Braille Post will feature a personality, whose contributions are of utmost significance for the success of the World Congress Braille21. This time it is Jahawar Lal Kaul. He is the chair of the World Braille Council, an important working group of the World Blind Union. The idea of Braille21 was born in this committee.

How did the idea of Braille21 arise at the WBC?

There was a consensus at the first meeting of the World Braille Council in Madrid that, despite the advent of various alternative technologies, braille needs to be given the special focus and attention it continuous to deserve. With that end in view, it was considered necessary to have an international gathering, which may be representative in character to deliberate upon a range of themes relating to the promotion of braille worldwide.

Which are the other tasks about braille the WBC is working on currently?

The World Braille Council is currently engaged in a variety of tasks covering the production, teaching and usage of braille the world over. One of the formidable tasks the Council has taken in hand through a sub-group of braille experts, is to address the question of arriving at some kind of uniformity in various braille mathematics and science codes. The group is also looking at how best we could have unified notations for braille phonetics, punctuation marks and computer symbols. Similarly, the Council has constituted other sub-committees to consider a range of issues and challenges relating to: easy and affordable access to braille books, compilation of research material concerning teaching of braille to different user, laying down guidelines for the formation of regional and national braille authorities where these do not exist; working out standards for braille labelling of consumer and medicinal products. The Council is to hold its second meeting in Delhi in January 2011 where the details of work assigned to different groups will be further fine-tuned.

Jahawar Lal Kaul

Chair of the WBC: J. L. Kaul

Which big challenges does braille face in India at the moment?

Many and varied are the challenges braille has to face in India. The multiplicity of the languages spoken in the country, the high cost of production machines and equipment which have to be imported, the problem of their maintenance, the extremely vulnerable economic condition of the average user and lack of resources made available by the government for the production and distribution of braille books – are among the formidable challenges. The country also has the problem of shortage of qualified braille teachers, though programmes of preparing teachers for the blind are now gaining momentum. Many blind children still do not get adequate copies of textbooks in braille and have access to very rudimentary writing equipment. Also, many managers of educational programmes for blind children tend to thrust audio books on the users as an easy option which is most regrettable and places these children at a distinct disadvantage. The redeeming feature is that some self-help organisations of the blind are now making determined efforts to bring about the desired change and overcome these challenges.

How is your personal relationship to Braille?

Braille is my most precious personal possession. I have pursued all my educational and professional work through braille and I find braille reading and writing among the most enjoyable and stimulating experiences. Through the NGO I look after in the country, All India Confederation of the Blind, we are able to provide textbooks and other reading material for many children and adults and make them available to the users at affordable costs.

Which expectations do you have of Braille21?

My foremost expectation of Braille21 is that it will help in bringing together in an international way, representatives of all those who feel keenly about braille – educators, researchers, developers, manufacturers and of course the users. I trust that Braille21 will provide to braille its place of glory which it deserves. Braille21 should highlight in clear terms that Louis Braille’s system must continue to be widely used and propagated, despite various competing technologies. Meaningful research, I hope, will usher in through this congress, an era of unfettered flow of affordable reading material and writing equipment for our blind populations throughout the world, especially the developing countries where a substantial majority of our blind friends reside.

Short Biography of J.L. Kaul

Born in
vision lost due to smallpox
Graduation with Honours
set up first self-help national level organisation
founded along with other 9 blind persons »All India Confederation of the Blind« (AICB)
holding the positions of Secretary General, All India Confederation of the Blind and the Asian Blind Union; life member of World Blind Union and Chairperson of WBC

Support Innovations in Braille!

Braille21 can only become reality with the help of others. Both big and small aides are welcome! If you would like to support our project, please transfer your donation to the following bank account:

Payee: Förderverein »Freunde der DZB e. V.«
Bank name: Sparkasse Leipzig
Sorting code: 860 555 92
Account number: 1 100 830 010
IBAN: DE44 8605 5592 1100 8300 10
Bank's address: Sparkasse Leipzig, Humboldtstraße 25, 04105 Leipzig, Germany
Reference: Braille21


Deutsche Zentralbücherei für Blinde zu Leipzig (DZB Leipzig)
Gustav-Adolf-Straße 7
04105 Leipzig
Tel.: + 49 341 7113-0
Fax: + 49 341 7113-125
Editorial Work: Jenni Handschack
Design and Layout: A. Diener, J. Dobroschke
Photo Credits: photo 1 A. Schmidt/LTM; photo 2 and 3 private

The Braille Post is published quarterly until September 2011. The next issue will appear in April 2011. It will feature many exciting stories and facts around Braille21. Read, among others, about a Braille project of the development organization CBM, which supports the World Congress Braille21 as a partner.