National Federation of the Blind
For #InternationalWomensDay we want to bring attention to the story of Isabelle Grant. After going blind in 1948, Isabelle threw herself into learning blindness skills, and eventually returned to her career as a teacher, making her the first blind teacher in California. Although she was never allowed to teach sighted students again, instructing blind students became her passion. In 1956 she attended a conference in Norway, during which she realized that blindness did not have to stop her from traveling independently overseas. She also realized how limited the opportunities for blind students were in many parts of the world, and subsequently spent much of her life working to improve the educational opportunities for blind children in other countries. In 1959, at a time when it was unusual for any woman to travel alone, Isabelle took a sabbatical and made a solo trip around the world during which she visited 23 countries. As part of this trip she spent six months in Pakistan, and later returned there to train teachers in the education of blind students in schools alongside their sighted peers. As a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind Isabelle knew that it was important that the blind have the opportunity to speak for themselves. While in Pakistan she also founded the Pakistan Association of the Blind, and throughout her travels she collected information about potential blind leaders who could help start organizations like the National Federation of the Blind in other countries. In 1972 Isabelle was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
To learn more about the life of Isabelle Grant you can read her autobiography, Crooked Paths Made Straight, which is available on Bookshare, Amazon, and other retailers.
[Image: Isabelle Grant stands petting a monkey]