A touch of humanity| Volume 39, ISSUE 2, P345, February 2014

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Hands on Stamps: Brazil 1979—150th Anniversary of the First Publication in Braille Writing

      Among the hand's symbolic meanings, the communicative relevance is the one with greatest importance for certain people. Braille is a tactile writing system formed by raised dots arranged in specific places in a 6-position matrix. It's used by the blind and the visually impaired for books, menus, signs, elevator buttons, and currency. Louis Braille, a blinded 15-year old boy adapted a 12-dot cell system developed by a French captain in Napoleon's army to allow soldiers to compose and read messages at night without illumination. The basic technique was the first raised-dot reading and writing system. Nearly 300 million people are now visually impaired worldwide: 14% blind and the remaining have low vision. About 90% of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries. Historically developing countries like Brazil in 1979 (Fig. 1) encouraged Braille reading to provide an essential skill that would allow visually impaired children to better compete with their sighted peers in a school environment and later in the workforce.
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      Figure 1The 150th anniversary of the first publication in Braille writing. The perforated central area in the stamp itself and in the surrounding area makes the artwork more illustrative and says, “While touching the raised dots on the paper blind people participate in the world's development.” Place of issue: Brazil. Year of issue: 1979. Collection: Ivo Bader (CH). Value: 3.20 Brazilian cruzeiros.
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