International Organizations








Children from the Sunderland Council Blind School using touch to identify different creatures at Sunderland Museum, 1910s

L'Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, 1844 (Founded in Paris, France, 1784)

Chapel of the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool 1829 (Founded in Liverpool, UK, 1791)

Perkins Institution (New England Asylum for the Blind) in South Boston, formerly the Mount Washington hotel, 1893 (Founded in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA in 1829)

Military Orphan (Lower) School, Howrah, Calcutta, India, 1782 (Adopted Lucas System in 1840)

Sharp Memorial School for the Blind (Founded in Amritsar, India in 1887)

International Organizations for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Since 18th century several international organizations have been setup for people with blindness. Here we list a few notable ones in this page.

The first notable charitable educational institute for the blind was the L'Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles (The National Institution For The Young Blind), opened in Paris in 1784 by Valentin Haüy, where he experimented with various sizes and forms of raised Roman letters to teach students who were blind to read (refer to Readers and Writer for Braille page for details). With demonstrations of the pupils’ talents in art and music, Haüy hoped to elicit admiration for the students’ competence, not pity for their blindness.

The Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool, England, is the oldest specialist school of its kind in the UK, having been founded in 1791. It took a while longer for the United States, with the New England Asylum for the Blind being incorporated in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1829. It was this institution that would go on to become the venerable Perkins School for the Blind, with Samuel Gridley Howe (inventor of the Howe tactile system - Readers and Writer for Braille page for details), who traveled through Europe to learn how the blind were being educated there - as its first superintendent.

Valentin Hauy and the Perkins School trained teachers on an apprenticeship basis. Commonly, teachers were themselves blind graduates of the institutions at which they taught. This was largely based on the notion that only the visually impaired person can really say what they can, or cannot, see. Since every student is an individual with individual needs, it was believed that only members of the community could adopt pedagogies and teaching strategies which suited visually impaired students.

Throughout the 19th century, residential schools were usually the sole option for the education of children with visual impairments. One reason was that public schools were seen as incapable of meeting the requirements of visually impaired children: their staff lacked training special education and the schools themselves were unsafe environments for children with limited mobility. Another was geographic necessity, owing often to the low population density of blind children - these schools were set up in large cities with populations of children with visual impairments that were sizable enough to justify the provision of specialized services.

Such schools were being established in the same periods in India too. The Bengal Military Orphan Asylum, Calcutta, having blind orphans in its school, was founded in 1782. It adopted the Lucas reading system by 1840, although this system was overtaken by Moon's embossed type for blind readers in several Indian languages during the 1850s. These children seem to have been the first in South Asian history to be educated in a school with a formal system designed for their needs, with supplies largely provided by colonial authorities. The first special school for the blind in India was set up at Amritsar in 1887 - the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind, named after its founder, Annie Sharp. In subsequent decades, several special schools came up in different parts of the country, such as the Calcutta School for the Blind founded by Lal Bihari Shah in Calcutta in 1897, the American Marathi Mission School for the Blind in Mumbai in the year 1900, which came to be known as The Dadar School for the Blind. Here, blind children received education along with some elementary trades that later led them to some kind of vocational rehabilitation.

Source

Further reading

Military Orphan (Upper) School, Kidderpore, Calutta, India, 1790 (Adopted Lucas System in 1840)

Calcutta School for the Blind (Founded in Calcutta, India in 1897)

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB)

The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), operated by the U.S. state of Alabama in the city of Talladega, is the world’s most comprehensive education, rehabilitation and service program serving individuals of all ages who are deaf, blind, deafblind and multi-disabled. Founded in 1858 by a young medical doctor who wanted to educate his deaf brother, AIDB now serves more than 36,000 infants, toddlers, children, adults and seniors with hearing and vision loss throughout Alabama each year.

The current institution includes:

  • Alabama School for the Deaf

  • Alabama School for the Blind

  • Alabama Industries for the Blind

  • Helen Keller School

  • E. H. Gentry Technical Facility

The AIDB has regional centers in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan, Auburn, and Tuscumbia. The AIDB currently serves nearly 24,500 residents from all 67 counties of the state.

American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults

American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults

The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is an organization devoted to assisting blind youth, elderly blind and, deaf blind individuals when they are not able to find the assistance they need from governmental agencies or other entities.

The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults' name used to be just American Action Fund, but was changed to better identify the groups of individuals for which they provided services. The American Brotherhood for the Blind also later became part of the American Action Fund

American Association of Blind Teachers

Donna Brown, AABT Treasurer, 55 E Sioux Lane, Romney, WV 26757

+1 304 940-0292

BlindTeachers19@gmail.com

American Association of Blind Teachers (AABT)

American Association of Blind Teachers (AABT)

The American Association of Blind Teachers, formerly the National Association of blind Teachers, is a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Council of the Blind.

Our members, most of whom are blind or visually impaired, teach a wide range of subjects on all levels from elementary to graduate school. While some members are itinerant teachers of the visually impaired and others work in traditional residential schools for the blind, most of our members teach in either the conventional public school or college classroom

Throughout the year, AABT conducts workshops and "teachers' lounge" sessions via telephone on Sunday evenings at 8:00 Eastern. We hold an annual meeting as part of the ACB Conference and Convention each year in July. Our meeting includes a breakfast and presentations on a wide range of topics of interest to blind and visually impaired teachers. You can hear recordings of past programs on our AABT Programs and Workshops page.

If you would like to support the American Association of Blind Teachers, please consider donating securely on line so we can continue our important work.

American Council of the Blind

American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is a nationwide organization in the United States. It is an organization mainly made up of blind and visually impaired people who want to achieve independence and equality (although there are many sighted members with common aims The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.

American Foundation for the Blind

American Foundation for the Blind

The mission of the American Foundation for the Blind is to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. We mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data.

Conduct Research to Advance Cange AFB collaborates with researchers and educators to better understand the issues facing people who are blind or visually impaired. We use that knowledge to develop evidence-based solutions in areas including education, employment, socio-economic mobility, rehabilitation services, aging and vision loss, healthcare, and technology.

AFB collaborates with researchers and educators to better understand the issues facing people who are blind or visually impaired. We use that knowledge to develop evidence-based solutions in areas including education, employment, socio-economic mobility, rehabilitation services, aging and vision loss, healthcare, and technology.

Promote Knowledge and Understanding. We educate policymakers, business leaders, advocates, and the public about the challenges and opportunities that exist for people who are blind or visually impaired. That knowledge influences attitudes, improving acceptance, accessibility, and inclusion.

Through research, education, and advocacy, we're changing the way employers see job seekers and employees who are blind or low vision.

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired

5680 King Centre Drive, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22315

aer@aerbvi.org

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)


The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) is a professional membership organization dedicated exclusively to professionals who provide services to persons with vision loss. Our aim is to promote and support the professions by advocating for evidence-based practices, high quality standards, value-added resources and giving voice to issues of critical importance. AER provides professional development via face-to-face conferences, virtual offerings and publications to strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of professionals within the field. AER provides networking, mentoring, connectivity, awards and scholarships for professionals to advance excellence within the field. Our aim is to ensure that persons with vision loss will have optimal gains and greater independence by giving timely, intentional and value-added support to professionals in the field

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA is a U.S non-profit organization that was established to "help veterans and their families meet and overcome the challenges of blindness". o promote the welfare of blinded veterans so that, notwithstanding their disabilities, they may take their rightful place in the community and work with their fellow citizens toward the creation of a peaceful world. To preserve and strengthen a spirit of fellowship among blinded veterans so that they may give mutual aid and assistance to one another. To maintain and extend the institution of American freedom and encourage loyalty to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the states in which they reside.

Braille Institute of America (BIA)

Braille Institute of America

The Braille Institute of America (BIA) is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Los Angeles providing programs, seminars and one-on-one instruction for the visually impaired community in Southern California. Funded almost entirely by private donations, all of the Institute's services are provided completely free of charge Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to positively transform the lives of those with vision loss. Braille Institute serves more than 37,000 people through a variety of free programs, classes and services at centers and community outreach locations throughout Southern California – from Santa Barbara to San Diego counties

Canadian Council of the Blind

Canadian Council of the Blind

CCB work together as a community of peers that acts to improve the individual and community quality of life of people who are blind, deaf-blind, or living with low vision. To promote the well-being of those people who are blind or have low vision. To work with other groups of persons with low vision or who are blind. To promote measures for the conservation of sight and the prevention of blindness for all. The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) is a membership-based not-for-profit organization that brings together Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind or living with vision loss through chapters within their own local communities to share common interests and social activities.

ChildVision

ChildVision

National Education Centre for Blind Children: ChildVision The only place in Ireland totally dedicated to the education and therapy needs of blind and multi-disabled children. Meeting the individual needs of each child in ChildVision is at the core of what we do. Our staff work together to realize the unique potential with each boy and girl no matter how severe the disability

Christian Blind Mission

Christian Blind Mission (CBM)

Supports India programs through its South Asia Regional Office (SARO) at Bangalore helps NGOs in India who work for the blind and visually impaired

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Founded in 2008, HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items. HathiTrust offers reading access to the fullest extent allowable by U.S. copyright law, computational access to the entire corpus for scholarly research, and other emerging services based on the combined collection. HathiTrust members steward the collection — the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries — under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests.

HathiTrust advances its mission and goals through services and programs:

  • HathiTrust Digital Library preserves and provides lawful access to the 17+ million digitized items. The Emergency Temporary Access Service permits temporary, emergency access to the collection for member libraries during service disruptions caused by the glocal pandemic.

  • HathiTrust Research Center offers services that support use of the HathiTrust corpus as a dataset for analysis via text and data mining research.

  • Shared Print Program develops a distributed, shared network of print collections with collective print retention.

  • U.S. Federal Documents Program expands access to and preserve U.S. federal publications.

  • Copyright Review Program review team finds and opens public domain materials in the U.S. and around the world.

Helen Keller Services

Helen Keller Services (HKS)

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNB)

Hellen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB)

The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults is a foundation in the United States that provides services for individuals who, like Helen Keller, are both blind and deaf. Helen Keller Services enables individuals who are blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind or have combined hearing and vision loss to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice.

International Agencies for The Prevention of Blindness

International Agencies For The Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)

IAPB, we believe in a world in which no one is needlessly visually impaired, where everyone has access to the best possible standard of eye health; and where those with irreparable vision loss achieve their full potential.

Global advocacy: Our objective will be to raise the profile of eye care with key international institutions, so it receives the attention and resources needed to achieve universal access to eye health.

Connecting knowledge: Underpinning our activities is our role in providing authoritative data and information and enabling access to up-to-date knowledge, information and practice.

Strengthening the network: We will support active partnership building both between members and with other key sectors to tackle the barriers to delivering eye care for all.

Providing services: We will aim to provide high quality, economically viable services which add value to members.

International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment

It is the world’s major association of individuals and organizations concerned with equality of access to appropriate education for children and youth with vision impairment. ICEVI is governed by an Executive Committee composed of the Principal Officers, Regional Chairpersons and Partner Member organizations. ICEVI operates through regional and national committees in each of seven regions – Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, North American/Caribbean, Pacific, and West Asia.

http://www.ifla.org/en/lpd
Chair: Julie RaeGeneral Manager, Community Information Access, Vision Australia, 454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong VIC 3144, Australia. +(61)3 9864 9601. julie.rae@visionaustralia.org Secretary: Koen KrikhaarManager, Library Services, Dedicon, P.O. Box 24 (Traverse 175), 5360 AA GRAVE, The Netherlands, +(31) 486 486260. kkrikhaar@dedicon.nl

LPD has 67 members from 36 countries

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA): Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities (LPD)

Supported by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where it is stated that print disabled people have the right to equal access to books, knowledge and information at the same time, cost and quality as everyone else, and recognizing the fact that as of today only 5% of the world's published information is fully accessible to persons with a print disability.

Our Mission

The mission of the IFLA LPD is to advocate for library services that are equitable and accessible for persons with a print disability.

Our Goals

  • Establish a global accessible library of accessible material

  • Influence international policy on access to knowledge and information

  • Establish and support guidelines of best practice

  • Raise the profile of LPD and accessible library services within the library community

Actions Following from Our Goals

  • To establish a global accessible library for people with print disabilities

  • To partner and co-operate with other organizations to influence international policy on access to knowledge and information

  • To establish and support guidelines and best practice for accessible library and information services

  • To raise the profile of LPD and accessible library services within the library community

Further reading

  • LPD Presentation [DOC]: ​This document outlines the information that is to be provided in a powerpoint presentation or a speech about the LPD Section. Use this information to create your own powerpoint slides

  • Introducing Print Disability [PPT]: Prepared by IFLA section LPD 2011

National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB)is an organization of blind people in the United States. It is the oldest and largest organization led by blind people in the United States. The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.

Paths to Literacy

Paths to Literacy

Paths to Literacy for students who are blind or visually impaired is a collaborative effort between the Perkins School for the Blind and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The website is devoted to addressing literacy needs of students with visual impairments. It contains extensive resources related to strategies and tools for accessing information and engaging in learning across curricular areas.

You may browse it by primary and secondary topics, read blogs, know about strategies, use resources, and track events