Making Braille children

2021-10-30 02:24杨艳鑫
疯狂英语·新阅版 2021年9期


According to the National Federation of the Blind, fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the US are Braille readers (盲文讀者). But one woman has made an incredible difference to their lives.

35 years ago, our son, Jared, was born blind. Fortunately, we were introduced to Seedlings Braille Books for Children, which was founded by Debra Bonde. Although she did not plan to start a non-profit organization back in 1984, she ended up helping blind children all over the world.

As a shy woman, she just wanted to find a volunteer job she could do without having to talk to anyone. So she began transcribing(抄录)popular children's books on a braille printer, selling them for just the cost of the paper.

Word spread among parents and teachers of blind children, and demand grew for more of her books. Friends helped her to form a non-profit organization so she could start getting donations to help with production costs. She named it Seedlings Braille Books for Children because she believes that if you give a child a book, the love for reading will grow. That first year, she printed 221 books.

From its humble beginnings 37 years ago, Seedlings has produced and distributed more than 600,000 books across the world. They give half of their books away for free. The other half are sold for an average price of only $10 each, about half the cost of producing them.

As a mother, I appreciated it that Seedlings provided “typical” experiences for Jared in school. Since books were affordable, it was possible to have a home library. In addition, Jared would often receive free ones. Today, Jared is a software engineer with two children. He uses Seedling books to read to his sighted children.

Without the childhood literacy skills Seedlings provided for Jared, he would not get a degree and have a job in the modern workforce with the amount of reading and writing most employment requires. Since 2012, Jared has served on the Board of Directors for Seedlings, making a difference to the lives of children.

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What contributions did Debra Bonde make to the blind children?