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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Helen Keller: A Consummate Fundraiser

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Helen Keller at an institute for war blind in Rome, Italy, 1946

Sixty-seven years ago, on December 16th 1947, Helen Keller gave this speech to the New York Commission for the Blind. Its power resonates today...

Dear Friends,

It is an honor to salute you on International Day. The New York Commission for the Blind is glad to have you see that the sightless can do work worthy of their dignity as human beings – they can earn their daily bread and produce goods both excellent and useful. Through the work of their hands they are able to give assistance to other blind people who are in want.

Last winter I visited the blind of Europe, and it stabbed me to the soul to realize how the late War had robbed them of their schools and workshops, their Braille books, food and clothing. Most Europeans have been, and are being cared for by various organizations with medical supplies and other necessities of life, but the blind have been overlooked. The American Foundation for Overseas Blind is the only agency which tries to befriend them.

Will you not relieve their distress a little by purchasing the warm clothes here, contributing them to the struggling blind of Europe and making it easier to overcome their appalling difficulties and regain their self-reliance and an honorable status of service in the community? That will be but part of the noble work of betterment that you are rendering possible for suffering humanity.

While you are here, will you not please go up and see the exhibit from the technical research department of the AFB. It includes devices which help the blind to live more independently in the dark, not only to carry on in business, and in the home…

Image: Helen Keller visiting an institute for those blinded during World War II. Rome, Italy, 1946.

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