The Federation conducts Braille Teaching Programmes. We stock a supply of Braille Slates and Arithmetic Boards to be purchased by institutions and individuals requiring same.
Private Sector donors and individuals have shown interest in this programme and have been providing considerable support. Ms. S. Amarasinghe has provided a fund to provide Braille writing equipment to the needy by using the interest derived from this fund. 'Sumaga', the monthly journal of the SLFVH is now being produced by using a braille computer printer.
Reproduced below is a short history and description of the evolution of Braille obtained from the National Federation of the Blind, USA
Braille was first developed about 1820 by a young Frenchman named Louis Braille. He created Braille by modifying a system of night writing which was intended for use on board ships. He did this work as a very young man and had it complete by the time he was about 18. He and his friends at the school for the blind he attended found that reading and writing dots was much faster than reading raised print letters which could not be written by hand at all. The development of this system by young Louis Braille is now recognized as the most important single development in making it possible for the blind to get a good education.
It took more than a century, however, before people would accept Braille as an excellent way for the blind to read and write. Even today many people underestimate the effectiveness of Braille. While tapes and records are enjoyable, Braille is essential for note taking and helpful for studying such things as maths, spelling, and foreign languages.
Experienced Braille readers, however, read Braille at speeds comparable to print readers – 200 to 400 words a minute. Such Braille readers say that the only limitation of Braille is that there isn’t enough material available.
Braille consists of arrangements of dots which make up letters of the alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks. The basic Braille symbol is called the Braille cell and consists of six dots arranged in the formation of a rectangle, three dots high and two across. Other symbols consist of only some of these six dots. The six dots are commonly referred to by number according to their position in the cell.
There are no different symbols for capital letters in Braille. Capitalization is accomplished by placing a dot 6 in the cell just before the letter that is capitalized. The first ten letters of the alphabet are used to make numbers. These are preceded by a number sign which is dots 3-4-5-6. Thus, 1 is number sign a; 2 is number sign b’ 10 is number sign a-j and 193 is number sign a-i-c.