Dorina Nowill’s 100th Birthday – Today’s Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Brazilian educator and advocate Dorina de Gouvêa Nowill, whose tireless efforts made Brazil more responsive to the needs of visually impaired.
An unfortunate illness left Nowill blind at the age of 17. As the first blind student to enroll in a regular school in São Paulo, she found it difficult to find the books she needed. As a result, she began advocating for all students’ access to culture and information. Becoming a teacher at her alma mater, Nowill implemented training for education of the blind and won a scholarship to further her studies at Columbia University in the United States. In 1946 she and some friends established the Foundation for the Book of the Blind in Brazil with the country’s first large Braille press, enlisting volunteers to transcribe various publications.
After working to found the Department of Special Education for the Blind, Nowill helped pass a law guaranteeing blind people’s right to an education. Such accomplishments led to new opportunities on a wider scale. Elected president of the World Council of the Blind in 1979, she went on to speak at the United Nations General Assembly and campaigned for the creation of the Latin American Union of the Blind.
Having won numerous philanthropic awards, Nowill’s legacy lives on in the work of her nonprofit organization, Fundação Dorina Nowill, which prints braille editions for Brazil’s Ministry of Education as well as everything from menus to airline safety cards. The foundation also distributes audio and digitally accessible books to schools and libraries all over Brazil, ensuring the just and inclusive society that Dorina Nowill foresaw.
Happy birthday, Dorina Nowill!
You can find more about Dorina Nowill’s 100th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page