From Braille courses for beginners to the iPod
A varied programme awaits you on Braille day in Germany

We from the German Central Library for the Blind in Leipzig, together with our partners, invite you to join us for the Braille Day in Germany on 27 September 2011. The programme comprises lectures, workshops and actions to join in with for beginners to try out and for experts alike.

participants of a braille course

Getting to know braille – possible on the Braille Day in Germany

Bianca Weigert works in the sound studio of Landeshilfsmittelzentrum Sachsen, dedicated to providing aids for the blind and visually impaired. Furthermore, she has been volunteering as a braille teacher for adults who became blind later in life since the end of the 90s: »I am very fascinated by the ›oh, I see‹ effect in my courses, when participants realise all of a sudden what they can do on their own again, thanks to Braille«. Ms. Weigert offers a braille course for beginners on the Braille Day in Germany, aimed at blind and sighted people. 90 minutes to discover the structure of the braille alphabet and how to read and write it; ideal for everyone who would like to get acquainted with the six dots.

Richard Heuer and Wolfgang Hubert are true specialists regarding braille. They will both participate in the expert lectures on the Braille Day in Germany. Richard Heuer is the chairman of the Braille Authority of Germanspeaking Countries, and thus well-acquainted with the German braille system. Why does German contracted braille have more exceptions than rules? How can a compulsory German braille standard for all be developed? He will answer these questions on the Braille Day in Germany and also be open to questions from visitors. Wolfgang Hubert, owner of RTFC, will inform us on the development of software able to translate German contracted braille back into print. This programme will facilitate correspondence between blind and sighted people. This is very important at school and at work, where sighted and blind people learn and work together.

These examples show the wide array of activities offered on the Braille Day in Germany. Apart from workshops and lectures on braille, braille users present their inventions at A »Market of Opportunities«. You can find everything of interest to braille users in general, from tips on labelling things at home, to methods and material on learning braille.

Furthermore, there will be various fringe events. Visitors will be able to try out table tennis for the blind »Showdown« or leave a message in the Braille21 guestbook. All is dark at CBM’s dark course, where blind and visually impaired people take the visitors on a tour through their world. »My favourite text in braille« is yet another offer to take part and to be tried out; visitors may bring along a short text in print and convert it to braille to be printed out, with the help of professional braille transcribers.

In the afternoon there will be a presentation of interesting braille accessories. You can experience the iPhone, iPod and iPad using a braille display, learn how to write with slate and stylus, and have a go at fluently reading braille books using Braillino, a mini braille display.
»Braille21 goes Germany« marks the end of the German Braille Day; in a talk show it’s all about the many possibilities of braille, featuring interesting guests and live music.

Leipzig is worth a braille trip on the 27 September 2011. Interested fans of braille are of course welcome to stay in Leipzig for the international congress.

Braille Day in Germany

27 September 2011, Universität Leipzig, Zentralcampus am Augustusplatz

Participation is free of charge! An online registration at until 31 August 2011 is required (registration form in German). Braille21 may reimburse travel costs for students and trainees. Find the programme at (German).

Braille Ambassadors from all over the World for Braille21
Yves Désiré Ipolo suggests the unification of braille mathematic codes

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: Yves Désiré Ipolo – he is a mathematician and teacher specialised in sight impairment, Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso

»As a math teacher, I use braille in my daily professional duties, with pupils and teachers I train. Braille and affiliated compensation technologies for visually impaired people helped me to improve my teaching practices and to profoundly understand some math topics. It is a powerful tool to reach Education for All. So I urge teachers to learn it.

The only sadness of using braille is the segregation inside the community of users, in sciences specifically because there are many different codes. Why not unifying mathematic codes for the sake of all users? I hope that Braille21 will be an opportunity to set this issue.«

Promoting Braille
About the »Braille working group« in bbs Nürnberg

In February 2011, the »Braille Working Group« held its constituent assembly in the vocational centre of bbs nürnberg (Educational Centre for Blind and Partially Sighted People).

The working group was established following observations from teachers for several years that some students had difficulty reading and understanding written braille texts and texts on braille displays in grade 1 and contracted braille during their preparation and vocational training. This is a development the teachers regard as very alarming, in view of the progress in education, information and especially selfdetermination and quality of life.

bbs nürnberg is a trans-regional counselling and vocational training centre for blind and partially sighted children and young adults. With more than 300 employees, it is responsible for over 860 children, young people and adults with visual impairments. Find out more at

Members of the working group include Angelika Gradel (Deputy Headmistress), Marianne Härth (Braille teacher), Margit Schaßberger (Diploma in Business Teaching), Klaus Müller (Head teacher for special schools) and Dr. Aleksander Pavkovic (Trainer for IT-competence), the latter also being Braille Ambassador for the world congress Braille21. All members, except Ms. Gradel, are blind themselves and work at bbs in professional training.

The task of our working group is to transform braille learning into a modular system and to develop contents and design. Students will be able to obtain certificates in braille grade 1 and 2, as well as computer braille, without the marks in braille as a subject appearing on the report, which may seem difficult to under stand for outsiders. The teachers hope that, as a side effect, the students’ motivation to use Braille will be increased, and that they do not resort to the »comfortable« speech output. During the assembly, the modules were divided into grade 1, grade 2, and computer and Eurobraille. Other braille systems such as for mathematics, chemistry and braille music notes will be taught in special classes. Throughout Germany, only bbs nürnberg offers lessons in braille music notes as an integral part of its curriculum.

The aim of all modules is to train fluent writing and reading of braille with an appropriate increase in writing and reading speed. This is a skill every blind person needs throughout his or her private and, above all, professional life. Therefore, the ability to read and write by oneself must remain the highest priority of education.

working group »AK Braille«

The working group »AK Braille« (from l. to r.): M. Härth, A. Pavkovic, M. Schaßberger, and A. Gradel as well as the mascot of the working group Charlie in front of them..

Five Questions for ...
... Nermin Hasic, Simultaneous Interpreter at Braille21

Each issue of the Braille Post features a personality, whose contributions are of utmost significance for the success of the World Congress Braille21. This time it is Nermin Hasic, a blind simultaneous interpreter for English and Spanish, who will work at the World Congress Braille21.

What are the special challenges for a blind language learner and which role does braille play in the process?

Textbooks for language learners tend to work a lot with pictures, which makes things a bit difficult for blind learners. During Spanish classes the teacher asked me many questions, so that I learned a lot of vocabulary through repetition. In braille we always use the same dot combinations for letters of the Latin alphabet, but other signs such as accents have to be memorized separately for each language.

How important is braille for your work as an interpreter and translator?

I use speech about 70 % and braille about 30 % at work. Speech synthesizers are very fast; however, I use braille when it comes to correcting texts, reading names or certain words. I store important texts in my braille notetaker when interpreting and I also take notes on the job in contracted braille.

What are the main topics you work with, and what are the topics near and dear to you?

I translated texts dealing with medical appliances and I worked as an interpreter for conferences on environment issues. I have been working for the European Blind Union for about one year and a half and in the blindness sector in general. At first I thought this was dry, but then I realised that there are people wholeheartedly involved and working with commitment. I love translating texts on braille, reading and e-books because the access to books is very limited for blind people.

How do you prepare for interpreting at the World Congress Braille21?

I read texts on the topic in English and Spanish. I frequently use the website of the Spanish organisation of the blind ONCE to extract vocabulary and groups of themes. Furthermore, auditory preparation is very important for me.

When you think about the congress, what are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to actually meeting people whose texts I have already translated. I am very curious about the actual persons behind the names. It is always challenging for me to convert somebody’s personal style into another language and make it sound good.

Short Biography of Nermin Hasic

Born in
1979 in Kassel
Abitur in Marburg, start of studies in Interpreting and Translating (Spanish and English) at Leipzig University
Since 2008
translator and interpreter

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: Elke König, Katja Lucke, Clara Schneider, Gabi Schulze, Jenni Schwan
Design and Layout: Annette Diener
Photo Credits: photo 1 BSVMV; photo 2 privat; photo 3 bbs nürnberg

The last issue of the Braille Post will appear in September 2011. It will feature many exciting stories and facts around Braille21. Read, among others, of the final concert of the St. Thomas Choir together with the quartet of blind singers »Pro Punkto«.