Now, Unicef’s child rights convention in Bengali Braille


Kolkata : Pankaj, a visually challenged Class 8 student, at Narendrapur on the outskirts of this city, can now read about his rights as a child. For, Unicef launched the Braille version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Bengali here Thursday.

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The Braille version of the report has been published in English and Bengali – a boon for children like Pankaj who studies at the Ramakrishna Mission’s Blind Boys’ Academy (BBA) in Narendrapur.

Sunil Baran Pattanayak, acting principal of BBA, said: “I think this was much needed. This booklet would create much needed awareness among visually challenged children. This will go a long way in ensuring that they enjoy all their rights as other normal children do.”

Incidentally, it is the BBA’s Regional Braille Press which embossed the CRC in Braille and printed it.

“The English and Bengali versions of the 60-page booklet in Braille would be distributed within the next few days at 35 special schools for visually challenged in West Bengal,” Anil Gulati, communication officer, Unicef office of West Bengal, told IANS.

“The booklet would also be distributed all over India in the next few weeks in various schools and educational institutions run for the visually challenged,” he added.

The booklet spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.

“I did not know I had these rights. But after reading this I have come to know that children also have such rights,” Pankaj said as his fingers moved at a rapid pace touching the various permutations and combinations of tiny dots engraved on the pages of the Bengali version of one of the first CRC booklets.

Braille is a script that enables visually challenged people to read. In the script, there are six fundamental dots. Various combinations of these dots when engraved on paper can make 63 characters, which are put together to form words and sentences.

Visually challenged people touch these dots with their fingers and are able to read like any other normal person.

In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. India acceded to the Convention on Dec 2, 1992.