A recent study (that I heard) says that less than ten percent of blind individuals read braile - a 40% reduction since half a century ago, according to the same reports. To me, this may sound quite something that I don't have any opinion on, but it connects to an event that I've attended as a participant in 2004 and in 2007 - The BrailleChallenge.
The National Braille Challenge, started in 2000, is an anual event of competitions for blind students with a goal of spreading braille literacy among today's youngsters. Hosted by Braille Instistue of America, this event draws blind students (from ages 6 to 19) to participate in a series of "challenges" - namely Speed and Accuracy, Reading Comprehension, Proofreading and Charts and Graphs (for older students). The winners of each student age group wins prize money and a special computer designed for blind people called PAC Mate.
As a participant, I attended this event three times (once I didn't made it to the national level, twice I did). In 2003, I tried the preliminary event, but couldn't make it to the national level. In 2004 and 2007, I did manage to make it into national level. Although I didn't win anything (I hope I got fifth or sixth place), it was an awesome opportunity for me to network with fellow blind students of my age group and learn how other students appreciates braille.
There is a Facebook group for current and past participants of Braille Challenge to join - I'll add the Facebook link in a later post.
For those who met me at Braille Challenge, you know how to reach me, right? (unless if I didn't send you my email address or my school info)... Hope to see my "friends" soon...