“Keep your face to the sunshine…
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with a heart”. – Helen Keller
June 27 is known as ‘Helen Keller Day’ – the day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Helen Keller. The holiday was recognized by presidential proclamation in 2006, as well as by international organizations who work for the blind and the deaf.
Helen Adams Keller defied all odds, challenged all challenges and despite being deaf and blind went on to become an inspiration to millions of people around the world. She overcame all adversity and became one of the leading humanitarians of the twentieth century, and was the co-founder of the ACLU.
We, from one of the best CBSE Schools in Noida, come up with the life history of Helen Keller who is an inspiration for all. Read it and learn from her life journey.
She was born on 27th June in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She lost her eyesight and hearing ability due to prolonged illness when she was just 19 months old; But because of the exceptional tireless effort of her governess, Miss Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller learnt how to communicate. Both worked together for 49 years.
We come to know about them from Helen Keller’s autobiography The Story of My Life.
Sullivan went to Helen’s Alabama home in 1887 and started to teach the child finger spelling, starting with the word ‘d-o-l-l’ which she brought as a gift. In the beginning, it was a new exciting play for Helen but she wasn’t aware that every object possesses a name and they are unique. Helen soon became bored, frustrated and threw tantrums.
But Miss Sullivan’s tireless effort to help the child brought result with the word ‘water’. She took Helen out to a water pump and placed Helen’s hand under the spout. When cool water flushed on Helen’s one hand, she spelled the word ‘w-a-t-e-r’ on her other hand.
Keller understood the purpose of Anne Sullivan and understood that it wasn’t a game. She demanded names of all objects that came on their way on that day.She learned 30 words by night.
With Miss Sullivan and sheer will,Helen made tremendous progress in learning. She entered Perkins Institute for the Blind in Watertown in 1888.She was unstoppable. In 1904 she joined the famous Radcliff College in Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree.Helen started taking Speech classes from Horace Mann School for blind in Boston and after long 25 years of practice she learnt how to speak and had mastered various methods of communication including Braille, touch lip-reading, fingerspelling, typing.
She published her famous autobiography The Story of My Life while in college which describes the journey of Helen Keller as a child and Miss Sullivan and how Helen with her determination at the age of 21 became a student of the prestigious Radcliff College. After that, she published 12 more books and numerous articles.
In 1915 along with George Kessler, Helen Keller founded the ‘Helen Keller International’ – the organization work for the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition, on health and nutrition. Today the organization, known as HKI works in 22 countries and is considered as the most effective organization from which millions of people are getting benefitted.
Helen worked for the American Foundation of blind for 40years.apart from being a prolific writer she was a great speaker. She travelled 35 countries across the world and gave motivational speeches and inspired people to not to lose hope, be determined to achieve goals. She even fought for Women’s right to vote, Afro- American Civil Rights, various social causes and was the member of Socialist Party also.
Helen Keller received numerous awards that include the ‘Legion d’honneur’, and the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’, she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York. Helen Keller is rightly ranked as one of the most influential people of the twentieth century. She is an inspirational icon to the millions of people across the globe.