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Interesting Facts about José Álvares de Azevedo, the “Patron of Education for the Blind in Brazil” and the First Blind Brazilian Teacher



Jose Alvares de Azevedo 189th Birthday Google Doodle

Search engine giant Google launched a Google Doodle on April 8, 2023, to commemorate José Álvares de Azevedo’s 189th birthday. He was the first blind Brazilian teacher, introduced the Braille system to Brazil, is regarded as the “Patron of Education for the Blind in Brazil,” and founded the first school for the blind in Brazil. National Braille Day also falls on his birthday. Here are some interesting and fun facts about José Álvares de Azevedo.

Here is a look at the life and work of José Álvares de Azevedo.

Who was José Álvares de Azevedo?

Quick Look

  • Birth date: April 8, 1834
  • Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro
  • Died on: March 17, 1854
  • Death place: Rio de Janeiro
  • Nationality: Brazil.

15 Interesting Facts about José Álvares de Azevedo

  1. José Álvares de Azevedo was the first blind Brazilian educator, responsible for presenting the Braille System in Brazil and considered the “Patron of education for the blind in Brazil”.
  2. The Imperial Instituto de Meninos Cegos, which is now the Instituto Benjamin Constant, was founded by José Álvares and was Brazil’s first school for the blind. It opened on September 17, 1854, in Rio de Janeiro.
  3. On April 8, 1834, José Álvares de Azevedo was born blind into a wealthy family in Rio de Janeiro, which was the capital of the Empire of Brazil at the time.
  4. Dr. Maximiliano Antônio de Lemos, a family doctor, tells his parents in 1839 about a school for the blind in France where Álvares de Azevedo could study and grow more: the Royal Institute of Blind Young People in Paris. Be that as it may, they would have rather not left their son, and just in August 1844 was he shipped off school, when he was 10 years of age, and he remained there for six years as a boarding student.
  5. José Álvares de Azevedo learned the Braille System, an embossed reading and writing system created by the Frenchman Louis Braille, while he was a student at the Paris Institute. This system was still in the experimental stage and was used in tandem with the traditional reading system, which used embossed common characters.
  6. José Álvares de Azevedo committed himself to his studies and had excellent results, and in 1850, he got back to Brazil and started to work strongly to achieve his goals: bringing the Braille System to a wider audience and establishing a school for the blind in the spirit of the Instituto de Paris.
  7. When José Álvares de Azevedo arrived in Brazil in December 1850, he started giving lectures and writing articles about the importance of the Braille System for teaching the blind.
  8. At the age of 16, he started teaching and spreading the Braille System constantly. As well as being the first blind educator in Brazil, he was likewise the first teacher who specialized in teaching the blind in Brazil.
  9. José Álvares de Azevedo trained the Braille System for a blind girl named Adélia Sigaud, who was the daughter of the Imperial Court doctor, Dr. Francisco Xavier Sigaud, who, seeing his daughter’s development, organized an audience for José Álvares with Emperor D. Pedro II. The emperor was impressed by his presentation of how a blind person could use the Braille System to read and write, and he was open to the idea of starting a school for the blind.
  10. Álvares de Azevedo actively dealt with the initial activities for the establishment of the Imperial Instituto dos Meninos Cegos, yet he couldn’t see the school he envisioned being initiated on September 17, 1854, as he died exactly six months earlier, on March 17, a survivor of tuberculosis, aged 20.
  11. Dr. Sigaud said in his speech at the inauguration of the Imperial Institute, which is now the Benjamin Constant Institute, that he dedicated his final years to studying letters in addition to studying the History of Brazil. He also left written works. From 1854 to 1856, Dr. Sigaud served as the Institute’s first director.
  12. In addition to honoring the legacy of Louis Braille and the memory of José Álvares de Azevedo, the date encourages reflection on the obstacles to the continued production of works in Braille and emphasizes the significance of actions that value the production, use, and teaching of the Braille System (including professional training).
  13. The Imperial Instituto dos Meninos Cegos, also known as the Imperial Institute of Blind Children, was established as the country’s first school for the blind in Brazil. He was given the means to do so.
  14. As the Instituto Benjamin Constant, the school continues its education program and has added acting classes, self-care and daily living guidance, and more to its offerings.
  15. In honor of José Álvares de Azevedo’s 189th birthday on April 8, 2023, Google represented a Doodle to commemorate the educator.
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