Helen Keller was born in the United States in 1880. She lost her sight and her hearing at the age of two after contracting a mystery disease. She could not see, hear or speak.
When Helen was seven her parents wrote to a school for blind children asking for help to teach her.
The school sent a teacher who had worked with deaf and blind people. Her name was Annie Sullivan.
Annie taught Helen words by signing them into her hand. In six months Helen knew 300 words. Annie let Helen touch and smell things so that she learned what they were and eventually helped her to talk.
At the age of 16 Helen attended a school with children who could see and hear and took classes in German, English and French. When she left school she went to Radcliffe University for women.
After graduating she decided to become a writer and wrote a successful book on her life and another book about Annie. She and Annie also lectured, telling people all around the world about their story and inspiring others.
Helen helped other blind people by holding lectures to raise money to educate children. She also helped raise awareness of the needs of people who were blind, deaf and disabled.
Helen became world famous for her courage in overcoming her disabilities and for her fight to help others.
In 1948 Helen toured Australia visiting both the Sydney Industrial Blind Institution (Royal Blind Society) and the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, now known as Vision Australia.
She died in 1968 at 88 years of age.