Today (4 January) is World Braille Day. Braille is a tactile writing system that is used by visually impaired people, using raised dots to represent the letters in the alphabet.
There is nothing more enjoyable than getting a card – sometimes it’s the best part of a gift. Now, one woman is using her love of arts and crafts to make greeting cards for the visually impaired community.
Danielle Williams created Love Braille, in 2016, after becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of accessible cards to give her husband, Rob, who is registered blind.
Intricate, colourful, and detailed, all the cards have messages written in braille on the front with an option to add a personalised braille message inside, at no extra cost.
Producing cards for any occasion, from birthdays, christenings, Christmas or even a marriage proposal. Cards can be customised, and feature unique designs.
“I’ve produced wedding invitations, baby announcement cards and bridesmaid proposal cards,” says Danielle. “Not all of my custom requests are for people who read braille – I have had customers order cards for loved ones to decode, like secret messages. I love that!”
Designs are made out of felt, ensuring that every person who receives a card gets a tactile experience.
“I’ve received lots of positive feedback which I have found very touching,” explains Danielle. “I’ve been sent several photos of recipients with their cards, which I always enjoy.
“Perhaps my favourite was a message from a ninety- year-old lady who said she hadn’t received an accessible card since losing her sight.”
It may seem like a small gesture, but Danielle’s cards are taking steps to close the gap between disabled and non-disabled people. Sometimes, all it takes are tiny changes towards inclusivity that mean the most.
“I know my husband always appreciates receiving a braille card, whether from me or someone else,” enthuses Danielle.
“I think and hope people enjoy reading the messages from their loved ones, rather than having to have them read to them.
“I like to think my cards make more of an impact than the alternative of receiving a standard printed card with a message that isn’t accessible to the reader.
“I hope the cards can be treasured and looked at again, and again.”
Not only do the cards provide visually impaired people with a token from their friend or loved one, they help Danielle with her mental health, too.
“Another reason why I have enjoyed setting up Love Braille is that it has been a very positive influence on my mental health,” explains Danielle.
“A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and one of my main triggers is workplace anxiety. Love Braille has enabled me to work at my own pace, and has helped to boost my self-esteem and confidence.”
Greetings cards truly are one of life’s simple pleasures: you’d be lying if you said the messages inside from family and friends hadn’t made you laugh or cry. Danielle’s cards give people with visual impairments a chance to experience this once again, and make the little things in life more accessible to everyone.
To celebrate World Braille Day, why not head to the Love Braille website and buy a loved one a handmade card?