Helen Keller – WOMAN of ACTION™


A Celebration of Women™ 

is honored to Celebrate this Life with our tribute, one lived with courage, conviction and more care for others than most.   

Rising above her challenges with sight, sound and more, this powerhouse has left a legacy that our world learns from daily, still.

Immortality was this woman’s Destiny!




“For many generations, more than we can count, we bowed our heads and submitted to blindness and begging. This blind and deaf woman lifts her head high and teaches us to win our way back by work and laughter. She brings light and hope to the heart.”
-Quote from a Japanese woman about Helen Keller


Helen Keller




Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in the state of Alabama in the United States. As an infant she was healthy, lively, and happy, but when she was 19 months old she contracted a horrible fever and she was left deaf and blind.

So, Helen communicated by using specific signs that meant specific words, like wrapping her arms around herself and shivering if she wanted ice cream. But her attitude began to go downhill when she was 5 and discovered other people would talk with their mouths. This made her very upset, so she threw tantrums which got worse as she got older. When she was almost seven years old, her family got her a tutor: Anne Sullivan.

Helen had finally found her match, for Anne could control her with sheer willpower and force. Soon, Anne began teaching Helen words by signing them into Helen’s hand (forming letters with her fingers) so Helen could feel them. Anne spelled out “water” and splashed water on Helen’s hand repeatedly. Finally, Helen realized what words related and their spellings.

Anne and Helen’s progress continued for almost fifty years. Helen learned how to read and write Braille, a language where letters are made from a series of raised dots. Helen also learned Tacoma, reading people’s lips by touching them as they moved and feeling the vibrations. This was an amazing feat because this is very difficult to do and a very small sum of people can accomplish this. And, of course, Helen learned how to speak verbally.

In 1888, Helen and Anne attended Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. Then, in 1894, they attended Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York together. While in Radcliffe College, Helen wrote her own autobiography titled The Story of My Life. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1904. Then, in 1932, Helen was elected vice president of the United Kingdom’s Royal Nation Institute for the Blind.

Helen died in 1968, having accomplished many feats. In addition, she had helped set up the American Foundation for the Blind and had been a fervent socialist and suffragette. Helen Keller International, an organization devoted to the blind, was created in her honor.



Helen Keller’s Legacy


Established in 1915, Helen Keller International is the world’s premier international not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition. Working worldwide, we combat the root causes and extended consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing affordable and sustainable programs that are based on scientific evidence, original research and an unwavering determination to succeed against challenges that are all too often overlooked.

The results of our efforts are dramatic and wide-ranging. They perpetuate the indomitable spirit of Helen Keller, whose words continue to frame our values, and to guide us today:


“The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all.”


Our Values
All our programs and activities are grounded in a set of values that are intended to guide our work with vulnerable populations and to promote strong internal and external work relationships. We believe that:

Everyone has the right to basic health and well-being.
Everyone – from the people we serve to the people on our staff – deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

To these ends, our programs and activities are all founded on five essential principles:

Sustainability: We design programs that continue far beyond our involvement. We work with public, civil society, and private sector partners to build local ownership and capacity, integrate our programs into existing systems, and focus attention and resources on long term efforts.

Evidence-Based: We build programs based on state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and local situational analyses, and rely on ongoing program evaluation to maximize our impact and develop new scientific and programmatic knowledge.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Creativity, determination, the drive to do better, and the courage to take risks enable us to solve current challenges and prepare for future needs. We venture into new areas, embrace new ideas, seize opportunities and undertake new partnerships as we seek to discover and implement solutions.

Equity: All people are of equal value, and the recognition and celebration of our differences bring us tremendous strength. Everyone – from the people we serve to those on our staff – deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

Partnership: We work together with partners as equals, with a clear understanding of shared and respective roles. Effective collaboration requires shared vision, open communication and transparency, the ability to listen and respond to each other’s needs, and mutual accountability.

Today, HKI works with hundreds of partners (see Program Partners). Each partner adds something essential to our efforts to nourish families, prevent needless blindness and give children the chance to lead full, healthy lives. In the developing world, where blindness and malnutrition remain deeply rooted in complex circumstances, no organization can go it alone, nor would we want to. As Helen Keller herself once said,



“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”




A Celebration of Women™

celebrates the life of this amazing woman.

Brava Helen! 


A Celebration of Women

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