Reading from Braille Scriptures provided by the Bible Society of Uganda

January 4 is World Braille Day. To mark the occasion, we’re looking at some facts about Braille Bibles that you perhaps did not know!

The vast majority of the world’s 285 million people with visual impairments live in the developing world. With few opportunities for education or work, many of them are poor and struggle with loneliness. Bible Societies in many countries are reaching out to them – offering the chance to learn Braille and providing them with the Bible.

However, making Braille Bibles available is not an easy task. Here are three reasons why it is a challenging endeavour:

1. It’s not one book but a massive stack of encyclopaedia-sized books

One full Braille Bible is made up of at least 40 large books, which, when stacked, stand around two metres high, weighing in at around 40kg. This means that it’s not easy to transport Braille Bibles to those who need them, which adds to the already high cost of producing them.

2. It costs around US$600 (~£400) to print a Braille Bible

Good Braille printers are expensive, as are the vast quantities of the thick paper needed for Braille. It’s not surprising, therefore, that producing a full Braille Bible costs at least 50 times more than an ordinary print Bible. People with visual impairments are among the poorest in the world and cannot afford to buy Braille Scriptures. Through the generosity of donors, Bible Societies and their partners are able to provide them free of charge, but many more are needed.

3. The full Braille Bible is only available in 40 languages

Although the full Bible is now available in over 500 languages, only 40 of those have been transcribed into Braille. And while parts of the Bible are available in another 2,000+ languages, only 10% of those are available in Braille. There are many reasons for this wide discrepancy, including:

  • Blind people’s needs are often overlooked, even by the Church
  • Many languages have not yet developed a Braille code
  • Blind people’s desire to be able to read the Bible for themselves rather than listening to audio Scriptures is not widely understood.

The Scottish Bible Society is a founder member of the United Bible Societies – 146 Bible Societies at work in some 200 countries worldwide.

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