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Creative Genius - Helen Keller

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

#counselor #activist #author #lecturer #educator

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Daring Life

How devastating it would be for a person to be born with all the senses but soon have to live with no eyesight and hearing. Born on June 27, 1880 in Alabama, Helen Keller just had a few months to enjoy seeing with her eyes and hearing her surroundings before becoming blind and deaf after an illness.

Her father was the editor of a weekly local newspaper “North Alabamian” and he also served as an officer during the Civil War. In 1882, Helen Keller fell sick and lost her eyesight and hearing which made her frustrated. At the age of 6, she became wild and ungovernable.

Helen’s life started to change when she met her 20 year old teacher, a graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, Anne Sullivan, in 1887. A life long friendship journey started between the student and teacher. Helen continued to progress and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940. While being a student, Helen began her writing career. In 1903, her biography got published. She also became a social and political activist to support the causes of women and workers rights and people who lost their vision. She spent her whole life working for people and died peacefully in June 1968.

Everyday challenges

As a blind and deaf child, her thirst to know about the world and to learn about her surroundings escalated; she faced a traumatic time until she received guidance from her teacher. Her teacher helped her progress and Helen was able to learn hundreds of vocabulary words through manual alphabets and Braille. She faced trauma of not being able to express by speaking from her mouth but with her willingness to learn, she was able to speak at the age of 9 in 1890. She had to keep her fingers on her teacher’s lips, nose and tongue to feel the movement and then try herself to say the word herself by forcing air out of her throat and moving the lips. She had to remember all the words so that she could reproduce it.

Other obstacles she faced was that she had to stay dependent on other people to travel and visit places but she tried hard and learned all the things in her way which a normal person could do. Nothing could stop her and make her lose courage; she fought against her disability and became an idol for deaf and blind people.

“When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.”

Optimism is the key

At an early age, when the illness struck Helen Keller, she was initially able to communicate with the daughter of the family cook. She communicated with family members through more signs and could distinguish people by footsteps. Hellen was taught patiently by her instructor by touching the things and so, she started learning and understanding how words are connected with all the things. She learned to say “w-a-t-e-r” after Anne held her hands under running water and by the end of the day, she learned thirty new words.

She learned Braille and used the “Tadoma” method to hear. She travelled to many countries and gave motivational speeches by which the deaf community was widely impacted. Her first biography was published in 1903 and later on, she published twelve books. When she graduated from Radcliffe College, she wrote different articles but she was turned down by the magazines. This made her speak up for herself and for others. She took voice lessons on Saturdays and Sundays to learn to control sounds of vowels and consonants. From 1909 to 1921, she wrote in support of the working class and became a political and social activist. She learned to communicate and gave lectures and speeches about her life experiences. She worked as a leading member of the American Foundation for the blind and remained an inspirational icon for the people around the world and also co-founded Helen Keller International in 1915.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.

Competed to Excel

Helen was extremely gifted and an intelligent child. After turning muted from the world, with her ambitious and energetic willingness to learn about her surroundings, she successfully managed to learn to speak and progress. Helen and her teacher worked together from 1887 to 1936. In 1890, Keller took speech classes and struggled to communicate with people with clear speech so from 1894 to 1896 she attended school for deaf in New York City and worked on improving communication skills.

Helen Keller's prosperity increased and her drive and determination made her noticeable by influential people like Mark Twain and H. Rogers. Rogers agreed to pay for her studies in Radcliffe College. Sullivan accompanied Helen in all the lectures and interpreted all the lectures and text.

In 1903, Helen became the first deaf and blind to achieve the degree.

She became a writer and wrote her biography “ The Story of My Life” which had been translated into 50 languages. She started working for others by becoming a well known lecturer and founded Helen Keller International to help blind and deaf people.

From 1909 to 1921, she wrote over 475 speeches and essays on many topics and also wrote for magazines and newspapers. She also worked as a political and social activist.

In 1946, she became the counsellor of international relations for the Americans Foundation of Overseas Blind and worked for over 40 years.

Helen visited many countries from 1946 to 1957 and brought inspiration and encouragement to many people through her speeches and appearances. She went to meet the soldiers of World War II and encouraged those who lost their hearing or sight.

She received numerous awards and honorary doctoral degrees from different universities and stood as an example of determination, hard work and an inspiration for people to compete in difficult situations of life with positivity and enthusiasm.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Creative Mind

Determined and Optimistic: Helen Keller proved that her disability was not debilitating. Although initially she used to get frustrated but with the help of her teacher she learned and focused on learning with determination. She knew that she had to work hard in communication and make people realize how important it is for her and people who are blind and deaf to express their thoughts and feelings. She kept herself focused towards learning and did not limit herself from exploring; she successfully learned many languages. Her urge to communicate with people made her an author, socialist, and advocate for women's rights. She supported blinds and deaf by pursuing the congress to make the braille books available in the libraries.

Inspiring: Helen Keller knew that to console her soul and to achieve peace of mind, she had to struggle and fight for herself and for others who are dependable on others. She showed everyone that with strong will power and hard work any one can achieve success and overcome the difficult obstacles. She made people realize that by sticking to her will and finding the alternatives of learning she became successful in life.

She was an inspiration for blind and deaf people. She did speeches and lectures for them and started Helen Keller International which worked for causes and consequences of poor health, malnutrition and blindness.

Intelligent: She realized that her family members used their mouths to communicate. She explored her surroundings by touching, smelling and tasting but flew into rage when she could not communicate with people around her. The urge to communicate made her develop sixty homemade signs to communicate with others. She could recognize people with their footsteps.

She dealt with her frustration by trying again and again and successfully learned about the things around her.

Indefatigable: She did not give up in any step of her life and instead of losing confidence by considering herself as a less able person, she strived as a hope for others and motivated people to not to lose desire and courage and do their best in the difficult path of their life.


Helen Keller emerged as the leading humanitarian of the 20th century by working for the blind and deaf people. She campaigned for birth control, worked for individual’s rights and ensured that everyone is treated fairly by working with the American Civil Liberties Union.

She also campaigned for people who worked in fields with disabilities.

She is remembered for many remarkable achievements and received the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936. In 1964, she was awarded the President Medal of Freedom award for her great work. In 1980, the United postal service made a tribute by placing her picture on a postage stamp. She died peacefully in her sleep, in June1968.


“Helen Keller Facts-History “

“Helen Keller- Family, Quotes & Teacher “

Helen Keller And Her ‘Miracle Worker’ Teacher Anne Sullivan


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