Braille Promotion

EBU promotes braille and braille literacy as essential tools for the autonomy of blind and partially sighted individuals. We are currently engaged in an activity to collect good practice in the area of Braille teaching as well as evidence of the importance of Braille literacy.

You will also find below important information on Accessible Pharmaceutical labelling, and on the annual Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest.

Braille Teaching and Literacy

In 2016 and 2017, an EBU expert group will look into the importance of Braille literacy and current barriers (technical, financial, psychological, etc.) to its development, in particular for young persons. The report will identify good practices in the teaching and development of Braille.

In 2016, the expert group collected data on Nordic countries through a desk study, a survey and a workshop. In 2017, the expert group broadened the scope of the study with a view to collecting and compiling knowledge, applied practices and experience on braille training and production of teaching materials in the field of braille usage. A questionnaire was therefore circulated in Austria, Estonia, France and Italy and fact-finding visits to experts in the same countries were carried out.

All the above will result in a final report including a multi-faceted and updated set of recommendations. The report may also include such tools as remote (long distance) braille training applying ICT technology to be tested on the field with a reduced group of blind persons.

This activity is led by EBU’s member in Denmark, DAB (Danish Association of the Blind).

Accessible Pharmaceutical Labelling

(latest update 03/2010) The European Blind Union has worked across its member states and with the pharmaceutical and packaging industries, alongside its involvement with the CEN standard development for braille on packaging and leaflets, and has developed a range of information to help the industry to comply with EU Directive 2004/27/EC.

  • After more than 4 years of deliberation and negotiation, we expect that during 2010 a European standard will be adopted for braille on medicinal packing. This means that the industries involved will have more specified values and procedures to follow when providing information in braille on the outer packaging. This will include the name, strength and in some cases, the form of the medicine.
  • Another outcome of the standardization process is a piece of scientific research undertaken by the University of Birmingham (UK) and sponsored by blindness agencies and the pharma-packaging industry. The findings contributed to the requirements included in the standard. The research investigates the correlation between the height of braille dots and the readability of the information by braille users. The dependence between the height of dots and the degree of security with which the braille user could identify the product is described in a robust and useful way, as is the effect of braille on the readability of underlying printed information for sighted people.
    The full research report is available online in pdf format: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/education/research/victar/research/braille-dot-height.aspx
  • PHARMABRAILLE. Another outcome of the standardization work also worth noting is the establishment of a braille symbol database. The pharmabraille website  contains a wealth of useful information about braille of primary relevance for the pharmaceutical industry. They need the information to ensure that the signs placed on the packs are correct, and hence useful for the full intelligibility of the information in all European countries.

The database includes an EBU recommended braille character set and a list of countries who have agreed to use it for pharmaceutical packaging, together with EBU guidance for presenting common abbreviations, numbers and so on. Furthermore, as these guidelines are not mandatory for the member countries, the specific literary braille code in the various European countries can also be found in the database. All of the tables and the braille information on this website are given in graphical formats but also in formats that are fully accessible for braille readers/users with a visual impairment.

The website can be found at http://www.pharmabraille.com  Through an annual subscription fee, organizations gain access to crucial information to make the braille on medicine packaging fully usable in your country. Free subscriptions are available to non-profit organizations in the vo

Blindness agencies: The tables are not fully complete due to a lack of full responses from a number of countries. For this reason, we are urging all the braille authorities or organizations of the blind in each country firstly to check the website for the EBU recommended code, guidelines, their own country codes, and their position on acceptance of the EBU code and guidelines, and to notify us of amendments. Secondly, to help us keep the database up-to-date, we would value your help by checking the database on an ongoing basis, e.g. every six months, and informing us of any changes in your national braille code. In both cases, please notify us by email at enquiries@pharmabraille.com.

Pharmaceutical companies: If you have questions about the presentation of braille which are not yet addressed by the EBU guidance, please email us with examples, and we'll do our best to provide guidance through consultation with our experts, and update the guidance with similar examples. Please email us at enquiries@pharmabraille.com.

We aim to have the most updated information across Europe on existing literary braille as possible. Updates will be notified to all registered users of the site, and each page will specify the date of the last update.

Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest

Results of the 2017 Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest

The European strand of the Contest was once again run by EBU.
The winners were selected from a total of 55 participants from 19 countries.

The authors of the winning essays receive prizes made available by Onkyo and Braille Mainichi.

Prize winners.

The First Prize winner is from Italy, Marina Valenti, (pictured below) who wrote an essay entitled 'Braille … an essential tool for the visually impaired or blind'.

Descripción: First Prize winner Marina Valenti

First Prize winner Marina Valenti

The winning essays are available in .doc format by clicking on the links in the following list;

Otsuki First Prize:

Braille … an essential tool for the isually impaired or blind by Marina Valenti, (Italy)

Excellent Works Prize:

Fine Works Prize:

Junior Category:

Senior Category:

Commended by EBU: