TitleLEGO® Braille Bricks, 1
Agency
Campaign LEGO® Braille Bricks
Advertiser LEGO
Brand LEGO
Date of First Broadcast/Publication
Business Sector Institutional/Public Interest/Non-Profit Org.
Story the LEGO Foundation and the LEGO group announced their support of a pioneering project that will help blind and visually impaired children to learn Braille in a fun, engaging manner while playing with special LEGO® pieces that have been customized for Braille. The project, called LEGO® Braille Bricks, was presented during the “Sustainable Brands Conference” in Paris, France.

The concept behind LEGO® Braille Bricks was first proposed by the Danish Association to the LEGO Foundation in 2011 and was again proposed in 2017 by the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind in Brazil. The project “Braille Bricks for All” has received international attention, making it possible for an agreement to produce the product to be reached. Since then, associations in Denmark, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Norway have closely collaborated and the first prototypes of the bricks have been circulated in the aforementioned countries for proof of concept testing.

“With thousands of audiobooks and computer programs available, fewer and fewer children are learning to read Braille,” said Philippe Chazal, Treasurer of the European Blind Union. “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities. We strongly believe LEGO Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning Braille, so we’re thrilled that the LEGO Foundation is making it possible to further this concept and bring it to children around the world.”

The LEGO® Braille Bricks will be created with the same number of raised points used to represent different letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet and will be totally compatible with the LEGO® system. To guarantee that this tool is inclusive and to allow teachers, students, and family members without visual impairments to use the pieces equally, each piece will also have a corresponding printed letter or character. This ingenious combination is a totally new and fun approach to get blind and visually impaired children interested in learning Braille, allowing them to develop the wide range of skills they need to prosper in today’s dynamic world.
For Ika Fleury President of the Braille Bricks Committee at the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind, “Braille is still the only way to teach a visually impaired child to read. LEGO® Braille Bricks is an innovative tool that effectively promotes inclusive learning that involves not only blind and visually impaired children, but also their non-visually impaired classmates. This launch has a very special meaning for us, since this year, our founder Dorina Nowill will turn 100 years old. Her birthday celebration will be marked by this great present that the Dorina Nowill Foundation will deliver to all the visually impaired children in the world: the opportunity to learn the Braille system while also interacting and having fun with other children. The program also goes beyond children and will reach teachers, educators, and parents who can also enjoy this educational yet fun instrument that the Foundation has developed.”
LEGO Senior Art Director, Morten Bonde, who suffers from a genetic eye disorder that is slowly causing him to go blind, worked as an internal consultant for the project. The executive is determined not to let the disorder limit him.
“Seeing students’ and parents’ reactions to LEGO® Braille Bricks was extremely inspiring and reminded me that the only limitations I will face in life are those I create in my own mind. The level of the children’s involvement and interest in being independent and included in society is very evident. I was moved to see the impact that this product has on the development of academic confidence and curiosity in blind and visually impaired children as they learn to read.”
The product is being tested in Danish, Norwegian, English, and Portuguese. German, Spanish and French will be reviewed in the third quarter of 2019. The final version of the kit should be launched in 2020 and will be distributed for free to institutions selected through key partners in test markets. The kit will include approximately 250 pieces that cover the complete alphabet, numbers from 0 to 9, and select math symbols, as well as inspiration for teaching and for interactive games.
According to John Goodwin, CEO of the Lego Foundation, “Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for the future just like all other children. They have the same desire and need to explore the world and socialize with other children through play, yet many times they face involuntary isolation instead. At the LEGO Foundation, we believe that children learn best through play and that play helps them learn a range of skills including creativity, collaboration, and communication. With this project, we are creating a fun and inclusive way for this group to learn Braille. We hope that children, parents, caretakers, teachers, and professionals around the world are as excited as we are. We can hardly wait to see the positive impact this project will cause.”

Facts - Brazil:

• Brazil has 208 inhabitants, 45.6 million of which live with some type of handicap. In other words, 24% of the Brazilian population lives with some type of handicap.

• According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), there are 140,000 visually impaired children in Brazil. 75,000 of these children attend public schools.

• According to IBGE, there are more than 6.5 million visually impaired persons in the country: 6 million visually impaired and 528,624 blind persons.

• Of the 39.5 million students enrolled in Brazilian public schools, more than 75,000 have some type of visual impairment (total blindness or low vision)

Timeline for the partnership in Brazil:
• In 2016, in search of a creative solution to promote inclusive education, the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind presented this challenge to the agency Lew’Lara/TBWA, which created the first national prototype, already named Braille Bricks.

• That same year, the agency launched the product’s campaign, generating 141 visualizations and 3.7 million spontaneous user interactions in Brazil and around the world.

• The Brazilian campaign Braille Bricks for All by the Dorina Foundation/Lew’Lara/TBWA won several prestigious awards, including a Gold Lion at the Cannes Festival.

• In 2017, the team at the Dorina Foundation got in touch with LEGO and the LEGO Foundation. Through these contacts, a partnership was forged that included Brazil in the global launch of LEGO® Braille Bricks.

• In 2018, the Dorina Foundation – in partnership with the Paulista State University (UNESP) – began an inclusive, educational LEGO® Braille Bricks pilot program that targeted public schools in Presidente Bernardes and Franco da Rocha, both in the state of São Paulo.

• The results obtained from testing with the 82 children (including blind, visually impaired, and non-visually impaired students) and educators involved in the pilot project served as a reference not only for the country, but also for the LEGO Foundation itself, placing the Dorina Foundation’s initiative again at the center of the global conversation on inclusive education.

• After the official launch – in Brazil and internationally – of LEGO® Braille Bricks, the Dorina Foundation began searching for supporters and investors to make it possible to train teachers and distribute the kits for free at public schools in seven Brazilian states (initially).

• The Dorina Foundation plans to begin importing and distributing LEGO® Braille Bricks in the second half of 2020, combining the kits with an inclusive pedagogical methodology, developed in partnership with UNESP, for blind, visually impaired, and non-visually impaired children aged 4-10,

• The Dorina Foundation’s active participation in the creation, development, and launch of LEGO® Braille Bricks is the result of the legacy created by the entity’s founder, the pioneering Dorina de Gouvêa Nowill, who will turn 100 years old this May.

Media Type Packaging, Branding & Design

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