Kayla DeBaets, a receptionist at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, learned braille in order to transcribe Christmas cards.
“People were having to wait, sometimes more than a week, because there were only two people who did it,” DeBaets said. After learning the tactile writing system, she then had to learn how to type with a Perkins Brailler, a machine that embosses paper with braille. Although a steep learning curve, for DeBaets, it’s worth it.
“It’s just the gratitude that I see from the other people. Somebody that comes in to get a brail card made, how happy they are to find out we do that here,” she said.
And her work doesn’t go unnoticed. Tracy Garbutt, a program lead at the institute, knows the difficulties of being visually impaired and how special getting a braille card is. “It feels really good, you don’t need to ask for help and you’re just like anyone else, reading a card you’ve received,” Garbutt said. “You just think ‘Wow someone really took the time.’”
There is a $2 donation fee to the institute per card, but more is always encouraged.