World Braille Day Success

Hello and happy new year!

It was wonderful to see so many attendees at our first event of the year, a celebration of World Braille Day. I would like to extend my thanks to our excellent panelists, Saima Akhtar, Fred Reid and Gary O’Donoghue for giving up their time to speak with us. If you weren’t able to attend the event, a recording of it can be found on our media page, which you can access at the following link:

We also put together a small audio presentation, sharing the voices and perspectives of braille users from around the world. It was played during the event, however you can also listen to it at this link:

The Braillists Foundation will continue to keep the community connected during the year, and I hope that together we can all have a wonderful 2021.

Monday January 11th at 7:00PM: Braille for Beginners

Regular readers will be aware that, after a very successful first intake over the past few months, we will be restarting our Braille For Beginners programme on Monday 11 January 2021.

In a change to our usual procedures, if you would like to join us for this new course, you will be required to register. This is to enable us to more accurately anticipate participant numbers and more easily communicate with participants if we need to. The course is completely free and the only personal information requested on the registration form is a name and email address.
All course sessions will use the same meeting information, so you only need to register once, and late registrations are permitted. You should receive a confirmation email upon registering – please retain this for your records as it contains the link to join each session.

We are setting up a discussion group for course participants. Membership of this group is completely optional and you can choose whether you would like to be part of it when you register. However, we highly recommend that you opt in if you can, as it will enable you to share resources and information with other participants and communicate with the course leader outside Zoom sessions.

If you would prefer to participate in the course by telephone, you should still register if you can. The meeting ID and Zoom telephone number will be emailed to you upon registration and you can then join by phone in the usual way. However, if registration is particularly challenging, please email [email protected] and we will provide further assistance.

Like last time, our curriculum will follow the Fingerprint course. This is a well-established programme designed specifically for adults who are learning to read and write braille by touch for the first time. For the best experience, we highly recommend that you purchase a set of the course books from RNIB. They cost £39.00 exclusive of VAT and can be purchased by calling the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and quoting product code TC21439. Alternatively, if you are comfortable with online shopping, they can be purchased here:

If you live outside the UK and wish to purchase Fingerprint, please email [email protected] to discuss international orders. Please note that Fingerprint is only available in hard copy; RNIB does not currently make versions available in electronic formats such as BRF, Microsoft Word or PDF.

If you are unable to purchase Fingerprint, you are still very welcome to join us. We may be able to make alternative resources available in the new year which, although not as comprehensive as Fingerprint, will still be sufficient for course participation. Please email [email protected] if you would be interested in these.

Finally, a reminder that sessions will be every Monday from 7:00 PM in the UK (2:00 PM US Eastern time), starting on 11 January 2021. They will last for an hour and there will be twelve sessions in total, so the final session will be on 29 March. It is anticipated that this will give sufficient time for participants to learn the alphabet, common punctuation signs and some contractions. Self-study resources are available from RNIB to facilitate completion of Fingerprint, and further information will be provided at the end of the course.

We hope you will be able to join us.

To register for Braille For Beginners, please fill out the form at this URL:

Braille For Beginners Registration now Open

Last week we shared the news that we are relaunching our popular Braille for Beginners course in January. This will give those of you who missed out on participating in our first course to join us and learn braille. The course will take place over 12 weeks, starting on Monday the 11th of January at 7 PM. The course is free to attend for all participants, however we do require you to register.

Registration gives us a clear indication of numbers, enabling us to produce participant resources. It is also used to add you to the course discussion group, so that you can communicate and share resources with other participants and your instructor outside of class time.

If you’re unable to register and need further assistance, please email [email protected] and one of our team will assist you.

Register for Braille for Beginners at:

Take Part in Our World Braille Day Celebration

The Braillists Foundation is planning a celebration for World Braille Day, taking place on Monday January the 4th 2021. We are putting together an audio presentation showcasing all the ways blind people find braille valuable today.

We would love for you to contribute your voice to this if you feel that braille has enhanced your life.

We are requesting audio clips, of no more than 15 seconds, sharing why braille is important to you. You could include:

  • A braille-related memory.
  • How you use braille in your daily life.
  • Why you feel braille matters.

Please email these clips to [email protected] no later than Friday December the 18th at 5 PM GMT.

More information about our celebration event to come!

Tuesday 8th December at 19:30, an Introduction to the Abacus

What is an abacus and why would you use one? In this session, led by James Bowden, you will learn about the various features of the abacus and why it is ideal for use as a blind person.
The session will cover:

  • physical description and orientation
  • The beads and their meaning
  • Setting numbers
  • Basic addition
  • Overflows and carries

If you have an abacus, bring it with you so that you can follow along. If you don’t have one, you can request one through the free equipment offer from the Braillists. As with all of our new master classes, a recording of the event will be made available afterwards along with supplementary materials to assist you with learning. The session will provide plenty of time for you to ask all of your questions.

Join link
Meeting ID: 827 7105 922

Tuesday 1st December at 19:30, An Introduction to Braille Labelling

In our next braille master class we will be taking a look at braille labelling. This session will be led by Matthew Horspool.
This event will introduce you to the various types of braille labels available and how to create your own labels using a range of materials.
The session will cover using a slate and stylus, a Perkins brailler and a braille labeller to produce labels, as well as tips for labelling various products around the home.
We will also take a look at writing greetings cards in braille.
Join link:
Meeting ID
821 5183 9448

Tuesday 24th of November 19:30: An Introduction to Braille Music

Please note: this event will be recorded and made available for download after the event.

This session will be a practical introduction to braille music. If you have a method of writing braille, such as a hand frame or Perkins, it would be good to have access to this during the session.

We will cover basic music notation and where to access braille music. This session will be led by James Bowden, braille technical officer at RNIB. Join

Join link:

Meeting ID: 845 5974 8036

Using Braille for Language Learning, Tuesday 17 November 2020 at 19:30

Please note: this event will be recorded and made available for download after the event.

This session will introduce you to the many ways you can use braille when learning a language. Knowledge of English braille would be helpful, but anyone is welcome.

We will take a look at using braille in conjunction with various language learning apps, where to learn other language codes and accessing books in other languages.

We’ll also hear from blind people who have used braille when traveling and how this has helped them.

Join Link Using Braille for Language Learning: Meeting ID 891 6967 3837

Introduction to Braille Writing Frames, Tuesday 10th Nov at 19:30

This session will be a practical introduction on using a hand frame (also known as a slate and stylus).
We will cover inserting the paper, holding the stylus and writing some characters, as well as some basic types of frame and where to get them.
Please come prepared with your frame, stylus and paper.
Questions welcome.
If you don’t have a slate and stylus, you can get one through the free equipment the Braillists is giving out, read below.
We hope to see many braille enthusiasts and look forward to learning together.
The event will take place on Zoom and will be led by James Bowden, braille technical officer, RNIB.
Join Link: An Introduction to the Slate and Stylus:
Meeting ID: 836 4442 2753

Tuesday 3rd Nov at 7PM: ‘Getting Around the Orbit’

Join us for the first of our new look Braillists events!

In “Getting Around the Orbit”, Dave Williams will be introducing us to the Orbit reader 20. He’ll explain the difference between the Orbit and other braille displays on the market, introduce us to the features of the device and tell us where we can get books to read on it.

Please note: this event will be recorded and made available for download after the event.

Join Link:
Meeting ID: 834 4760 4052