ANDREA H.AROCHI (MARKETING & COMMUNICATION VIA FAMILIES) talks about the International Day of Families, celebrated on may 15th.
Every 4th of January, is celebrated the World Braille Day, the alphabetic embossed system created to represent letters, punctuation marks, numbers and mathematic symbols contributing to the blind people a valid and efficient tool for Reading, writing and giving the Access to the education, the culture and the information.
It consists on a combination of six raised points divided into cells, organized as a matrix of 3 rows and 2 columns that allows to get 64 different combinations, including the one without a point, which is used as blank (to separate the words), also the differentiating special signs to convert a capital letter, number or a musical note. Usually they are listed top to bottom and left to right.
The UN has recognized and proclaimed the World Braille Day, to celebrate each 4th of January, highlighting multilingualism as a basic value of de UN. The principal main is promote awareness about the importance of braille as a media for full human fulfillment toward the blind people or visually impaired individuals. This day was chosen because of the inventor of the language, Louis Braille birthday (January 4th, 1809).
Louis was playing with some tools in his father’s workshop, and he had an accident with the sharp awl in one of his eyes, so he got an infection, that soon spread and blinding him in both eyes when he was 3 years old. He was learnt to read by feeling studs hammered into pieces of wood in the shapes of letters and numbers. Later, when he was 10 years old, he was accepted in a school, called Institute for Blind Children in Paris where they used crossed twigs were used to signify the letters of the alphabet. There, he also learnt to play cello and organ.
The idea of create the braille language started by the French Captain Charles Barbier, after the Napoleonic Wars; he invented the “night writing” that consisted of raised dots on cardboard used to send written messages on battlefields by night. The Captain continued promoting his writing method to other militaries, but they refused to use it. In 1820, Captain Barbier had the idea that maybe his system could be used by the blind people, so he took it to the school in the rue St-Victor (where Louis was a student).
Louis was tasked to evaluate the Barbiers system; he thought it was interesting but very plain to help blind people. Since that day, Louis Braille got inspired to adapt and complete his own system. And till 1824 (when he was 15 years old), finally he had finished his six dots system in varying patterns cells as domino, providing 63 permutations for different letters and numbers, including the “space” symbol. Later he also included musical notes.
The other students started using his method, because it was a tool to learn easily. Nevertheless, the school didn’t make it official because of the high price, they didn’t have enough money. Years later, Louis Braille, started to teach in that school using his own method of learning.
In 1826, he published his 32 pages book, named “Method of Writing Language, Plain Chant and Music, by Means of Raised Points for the Use of Blind Persons” (printed in embossed text).
Curious fact: on December 30 of 2014, the Braille language had been patented; therefore, it limited its use in any product. The Spanish Braille Commission and the ONCE Foundation, fought for the freedom of use, fulfilling the communicative and inclusive purpose.
As usual, there you have a video in which Deinny, a nine years old girl (part of the skating team, she plays some percussion instruments, sings, participate in the Astronomy club, she loves to read and enjoys every single moment of her live even though she could not see), she teach us how the braille system works and how her process has been.
If we read the press daily, new platforms, instruments and tools appear in order to learn or improve languages. Netflix for example has a channel that helps you improve your languages by watching movies and they have already created simultaneous translation devices such as TRAVIS.
Learning languages has become an imperative in the education of our children and it is not enough with one language anymore. Alejandro Ferrer director of the Educational Consultancy MCM says that “a language is mastered when you can make and understand jokes in that language”.
Since the crisis began, families are investing 28% more in the education of their children according to the newspaper La Vanguardia and one of the fields where the investment has grown is in mobility and language education abroad.
In Spain, the foreign language is considered one of the most important subjects.
Agencies and educational consultants such as MCM Educational Consultants help parents make the best academic and curriculum decisions abroad, but they are priced, and sometimes not affordable to all families, especially if they have more than one child then the expense is multiplied.
As many experts say, it is in linguistic immersion where one really learns a language, it becomes internalized in all linguistic aspects and is definitively entrenched in our minds.
Why invest in languages?
It is one of the questions in education that perhaps has more than one answer. The globalized world in which we live, forces young people to master one or two languages in addition to the mother tongue.
Languages have been and continue to be a degree in training, something difficult to learn if you live with natives of the host country, so for centuries studying in a foreign country has been part of the same educational process.
A few days ago, the newspaper Mercado published: “Speaking another language changes the structure of the brain. It makes the mind more malleable. A group of polyglots working together will be a group with original thinking. ”
Androulla Vassiliou, in an interview with Aprendemas.com (2002), said: “There is no denying that languages open borders and new possibilities and job opportunities that without them would definitely not exist, but as the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, : “Language learning is money well spent, as it is an investment in the future of our young people in particular and in the future of Europe” and “monolingualism is a luxury that we cannot afford.”
Young people need to know other cultures and countries as it makes them more tolerant and open to diversity.
What does the market offer to travel and learn languages?
Although the best option is to immerse ourselves in another culture and impregnate ourselfs with it, it has turned out to be the least economical with the options that were offered up until now. Agencies representing schools, clubs, camps, payment families, academies … require very high costs that many families cannot afford.
With the emergence of collaborative economies, new ways are also open for languages and families, and Via Families is an example of this, a platform for international exchanges for families and students, without agencies or intermediaries, getting to know and choosing the family personally to make invitation exchanges.
What does Via Families offer you?
Via Families offers an international network of families and students to make language, sporting or cultural exchanges, joining common interests and needs, around education, sport, culture or languages.
The possibility of choosing and deciding where, when, how and with whom to make an exchange, travel or receive a student.
Students travel and know other cultures, practice their favorite sports or hobbies and perfect or learn another language thanks to other families like yours.
Nobody better than parents and students to know the type of family they want, when and how they want to make the invitation or exchange. They do not need intermediaries but only one channel to get to know them: Via Families is the simplest channel available to international education.
How does collaborative economy work in languages?
Via Families Community
Like many other collaborative economies that are so in vogue (AirBnB, BlaBlaCar or Home Exchange) it relies on help. Helping each other by saving intermediaries and agencies, lowering costs to the maximum, based on mutual needs and interests.
In only 3 steps you can contact who you want: registering, creating profile and contacting. Nothing simpler, safer, easier and cheaper. Families have the option to contact anonymously through the platform’s messaging service until they decide to share their data.
Guarantee, security and confidence
Validate the identity, associating the profile with the social networks of Facebook and LinkedIn (this will remain hidden), belonging to an association, school, federation or company, upload a legal document to your profile … all sums up in Via Families to prove the validity of Your identity.
In addition, Via Families already has the support of several sports federations like the Catalan Federation of Tennis and the Spanish, French Federation South of Tennis, ELFAC Numerous Families of Europe, or Group Romeu. All of them have joined Via Families to endorse the profile of their employees, federated or associates. A further guarantee of confidence for other families.