Celebrating Inclusion as Vision Impaired Graduate Receives First Diploma in Braille

IBMR graduate Taís Machado Araujo has much to celebrate. After three years of studying at IBMR in Rio de Janeiro, Taís graduated during the pandemic, and received her diploma in Braille.

Last year in Rio de Janeiro, it became mandatory to print diplomas in Braille for people with visual impairments. The Braille certificate was a surprise for Taís, who is thought to be the first higher education graduate in the city to receive such a certificate.

Taís’ certificate not only represents her new qualification, but is a symbol of what a person can achieve when they’re given the opportunity to unlock their potential.

Taís, who was born visually impaired, had experienced difficulties in entering higher education. In a different course at another educational institution, she struggled to overcome the obstacles that a lack of inclusion placed on her. While studying Aesthetics at IMBR, Taís said she often heard friends, teachers and staff members say: How can I help you?

“When I needed to do practical exercises, like cleansing a person’s skin, I shared the task with a classmate. Applying creams and exfoliating was up to them,” Taís said.

“In some subjects, I had more difficulties, because it was very visual. I needed to understand face shapes, but the teachers always found a way to explain to me.”

“In practical classes, I needed help from my colleagues to do the procedures,” Taís said.

To assist Taís, a person was designated to read the labels of products and materials that the teacher made available or wrote on the blackboard.

Taís is not surprisingly thrilled with her achievement and has great plans for her future. “I know that for other people with visual impairments, it is more difficult, but I would say not to give up. Even though I have limitations and cannot do everything in the aesthetics field, I still want to teach Beauty to the visually impaired, so that they know it’s not because we don’t see that we can’t take care of ourselves and others.”

For Taís’ mother Margareth, seeing her daughter holding her diploma in Braille fills her with pride, and is a clear message about the importance of expanding the rights, inclusion and accessibility for people with visual impairments.

“The diploma shows how important inclusion is, and that disability is a limitation, but not an impediment,” Margareth said.

“Every single part of this diploma represents someone who helped Taís, who gave her their arm to cross the street, the security guard who took her to the train platform, her teachers, the coordinators and her classmates.”

Congratulations Taís. Your commitment, determination and belief in the power of education personifies what it means to be a Laureate Hero.