Helen Keller: Champion for the blind and deaf

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Helen Keller: Champion for the blind and deaf.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”. – Helen Keller (1880-1968).

Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, at one and a half years old, Helen became extremely ill and lost both her vision and hearing. She struggled to fit into a world she could not connect to. At the age of six, her parents learned about the Perkins School for the Deaf, hiring Annie Sullivan to teach their daughter how to communicate. At first, nothing seemed to work due to her severe condition. A breakthrough occurred when Annie took Helen to a water pump and, while splashing water on her left hand, traced the sign language for “water” in her other, at which point Helen’s world opened up. Annie later taught her not only sign language, but speech.

Helen went on to research her condition, give speeches, and raise money for many organizations, such as the American Foundation for the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind. From 1946 to 1957, she travelled the world, reaching out to 39 countries, speaking about the experiences and rights of the blind and deaf. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour that an American can achieve.

Surmounting her condition, she became one of the 20th Century’s leading humanitarians, authors, and activists, challenging for the first time the stigma towards people with disabilities.

Helen Keller was a simple girl, suffering from a severe condition, blind, deaf, and stigmatized by a world that saw handicapped people as burdens to society. With the kindness of a diligent teacher, she managed to overcome her condition and moved beyond, striving to help others do the same and become one of the 20th’s century’s most noteworthy figures. She led by example, a role model of an Everyday Hero, and an inspiration for others, even now, to do the same.

Everyday Heroes living with disabilities are people who wake up everyday and say no to giving up. They take the bull by it’s horns, get up out of bed, and conquer their disability. It is something tough and unimaginable – yet there are some amazing heroes out there who do this everyday.

Having a disability is a hard to live with. Yet, it is important to awaken the hero within, and move forward in life with future endeavours, never giving up on oneself, as Helen Keller herself showed.



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