World’s first ever Braille Day in NZ

Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni welcomes the United Nations’ first ever World Braille Day today.

World Braille Day raises awareness of the importance of Braille to blind and partially sighted persons worldwide and its role in enhancing their independence.

“Braille is helping around 700 blind New Zealanders gain greater independence, participation and citizenship through access to written information, learning resources in schools and tertiary facilities;” says Carmel Sepuloni.

The Association of Blind Citizens’ Martine Abel-Wilkinson agrees and acknowledges how Braille helped her reach her goals.

“I’ve learnt to read and write Braille since the age of 5. Braille was always my touch-stone to literacy and is one of the main reasons for my academic success, in terms of excelling in my chosen fields of tertiary education and employment. World Braille Day to me is a virtual monument and celebration opportunity,” says Martine Abel-Wilkinson.

Carmel Sepuloni says the Government is committed to improving accessibility and the lives of disabled New Zealanders.

“In early December the Government signed off on a major accessibility work programme, which will explore how we can achieve full accessibility for disabled people and all New Zealanders.

“In 2018, 36 public sector Chief Executives signed up to the Accessibility Charter which commits agencies to improving the accessibility of public information and services for disabled people.

“We are also making progress towards signing the United Nation’s Marrakesh Treaty, which will amend the Copyright Act by making it easier for information in accessible formats such as Braille and Large Print to be shared,” says Carmel.

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