[AI] A Woman With a Vision

rambabu adikesavalu rambabu_arb at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 2 18:44:49 EDT 2007

The Hindu
Tamil Nadu     

      A woman with a vision 
      — Photo:K. Ananthan 

      “I am blind. But, I have a vision. I overcame
blindness,” is how Sabriye 
      Tenberken describes herself. With a small
computer-like assistive 
      technology in hand, she says “Blind people are
excellent problem solvers. 
      Every day from morning till night, they are
solving problems.” She talks 
      to Anasuya Menon on her visit to Coimbatore. 
      Sabriye Tenberken is the founder of “Braille
Without Borders,” an 
      organisation working for the empowerment of
people with visual impairment. 
      Brimming with enthusiasm, she readies to speak
about her upcoming project 
      at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. “It is going to
be an institute where the 
      blind can develop their potential and utilise
their abilities for the 
      betterment of society. We need people who have a
vision and the courage 
      and passion to bring about a change in society,”
she adds. “A set of 
      highly motivated and educated people who can
think out of the box and 
      believe that everything is possible.” She has
already received about 15 
      applications from people with visual impairment
all over the world. The 
      institution aims at encouraging them to become
social entrepreneurs. “Why 
      can’t the blind get into social work?” she asks.
“Why should they be 
      institutionalised? They too can contribute to
society.” Sabriye Tenberken, 
      born and brought up in Germany, began losing her
eyesight very early and 
      turned blind by the age of 12. Despite the
discouraging attitude of 
      society, she continued her studies and was
insistent on giving something 
      back to society rather than always being a
beneficiary. Her unrelenting 
      quest to travel to other parts of the world and
do developmental work led 
      her to Tibet. She approached a couple of
organisations in Germany for 
      getting into development work, but none of them
encouraged her owing to 
      her disability. 
      In Tibet, she developed the Tibetan Braille
script, which later on became 
      the official script for the blind in Tibet and
she also started a Centre 
      for the Blind in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. She
worked with hundreds of 
      blind children and has since been concentrating
on removing the stigma 
      related to blindness. Ms.Sabriye has also
authored two books, “My Path 
      Leads to Tibet” and “The Seventh Year - From
Tibet to India.” She now 
      plans to extend her work to India. “India is a
great place to develop 
      things and there is a lot of innovative stuff
going on here,” she says. 
      Unlike in Europe where no development is
possible, there are a lot of 
      things that can be experimented in India, she
adds. Though technology has 
      brought in help to people with visual
impairment, it should not substitute 
      “They should develop confidence in themselves
and not be dependent on 
      sighted people,” she says.

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