WEIGHING more than 40 kilos, standing two metres tall, and made
of up to 48 separate volumes, the Bible in Braille is a huge
It costs 50 times as much to produce a Braille Bible as it does
a print Bible, but, thanks to the work of charities such as the
United Bible Societies (UBS), there are now thousands in existence
around the world.
Although the print Bible has been translated into more than 500
languages, there are still only 40 full translations of the Bible
into Braille, although an increasing number are being requested,
the head of UBS Global Ministry, Programs for people with visual
disability, Ingrid Felber-Bischof, said.
The greatest demand comes from developing countries, where 90
per cent of the world's visually impaired population live.
Ms Felber-Bischof said: "The highest numbers of blind people are
found in India and China, owing to the healthcare situation in
those countries, and the high rate of some infections.
"Blind people are often excluded from taking part in church
because the community want to show God their 'best' people, and
blindness can still be seen as a curse. So giving someone a Braille
Bible helps them to be included in their society."
In some countries, such as Ghana, the Bible is used as the
textbook in schools for the blind to teach children to read
And in some countries, creating a Braille Bible has required
first the creation of the Braille system in the local language. In
Burkhina Faso, there was no Braille code in existence; so, when the
Bible Society created the first Braille Bible, it also created a
Braille system for two local languages, which benefited all those
with visual impairments in the country.
UBS is currently working on two new translations of the Bible
into Braille: in the Kirundi language of Burundi, and in
Kinyarwanda, the official language of Rwanda.
"We also have a big project in the Sinhala language, where
the print Bible was revisited, and so the Braille Bible needed to
be revised too."
Braille Bibles are sent out free of charge whenever a request
comes in, paid for by donations from Bible Societies all over the
World Braille Day, which commemorates the birth of Louis
Braille, who began developing the system at the age of 12, fell on
Sunday 4 January.