[AI] Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak

Pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 9 08:05:49 EDT 2008


It is now all merged into the American Center.

Kanchan Pamnani
Advocate & Solicitor
9, Suleman Chambers,
Battery Street, Colaba,
Mumbai - 400 039.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak


> United States Information Services --part of which is the American
> Library and what used to be USEFI (United States Education Foundation
> for India), which I don't know is existing or not.
>
> Subramani
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Divyanshu
> Ganatra
> Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 3:24 PM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
>
> pardon my ignorance, but what does USIS.
>
> stand for?
>
> On 4/8/08, Subramani L <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in> wrote:
>> Perhaps can try with USIS.
>>
>> Subramani
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
>> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Divyanshu
>> Ganatra
>> Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 11:14 AM
>> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>> Subject: Re: [AI] Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
>>
>> does anyone know how to get this documentary?
>> divyanshu
>>
>> On 4/4/08, pamnani <kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > CNN
>> > Subject: Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
>> >
>> >
>> > Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
>> >
>> > NEW YORK (AP) -- Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to reach the
>> > 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest and climb the seven summits of
> the
>> > world, took on
>> > a different challenge in 2004: He guided six blind Tibetan teenagers
>> toward
>> > the 23,000-foot summit of Lhakpa Ri, the peak next to Everest.
>> >
>> > Weihenmayer had received an e-mail from Sabriye Tenberken, a 2005
>> Nobel
>> > Peace Prize nominee and co-founder of Braille Without Borders, a
>> school for
>> > the
>> > blind in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The students at her school
> had
>> been
>> > inspired by Weihenmayer and wanted to meet him.
>> >
>> > He had a different idea.
>> >
>> > "If these kids can climb their own Everest, what a statement that
>> would make
>> > in the world," Weihenmayer said.
>> >
>> > The resulting three-week journey, its hazards, successes and
> failures
>> > unravel in "Blindsight," a documentary by Lucy Walker playing in
>> limited
>> > release around
>> > the nation. With the magnificent Himalayas as a backdrop, the film
>> touches
>> > on the challenges faced by six blind teens in their daily lives and
> on
>> this
>> > journey. It casts a lens on Tibet, a region now mired in chaos, and
>> invites
>> > audiences to see the climbing region now closed to the world as the
>> Beijing
>> > Olympics approach.
>> >
>> > "We are blind, but our heart is not blind. Normal people's hearts
> are
>> > blind," Tenzin, one of the Tibetan teens, said.
>> >
>> > Tenzin, who's 17 years old in the film and whose name means "keeper
> of
>> > Buddha's teachings," made the climb with five other Tibetans from
> his
>> > school: Dachung,
>> > Kyila, Sonam Bhumtso, Gyenshen and Tashi.
>> >
>> > Sonam Bhumtso, called the climb a "golden chance." She, like Kyila,
>> comes
>> > from a loving home, but said she worried her family wouldn't take
> care
>> of
>> > her
>> > for much longer.
>> >
>> > Kyila, on the other hand, had to help take care of her two blind
>> brothers
>> > and her blind father after her mother died. Dachung lived only with
>> his
>> > father,
>> > who has since died.
>> >
>> > The 19-year-old Tashi, whose name means "lucky," becomes the
>> unofficial star
>> > who faces the most physical and mental adversity on the climb. Born
> in
>> > China,
>> > he said his parents sold him to a couple who brought him to Lhasa to
>> beg.
>> > When he couldn't collect enough money, he said they beat him, so he
>> ran
>> > away.
>> > He lived on the streets for years before a Tibetan woman took him to
>> Braille
>> > Without Borders.
>> >
>> > Tashi is reunited with his father and mother during the film in a
>> wrenching
>> > scene. Despite his hardships, Tashi told director Walker: "The best
>> thing
>> > about
>> > being blind is that I'm forced to look on the brighter side of
>> things."
>> >
>> > Gyenshen, 17 years old in the film, became blind at 9 and spent four
>> years
>> > locked in his house, since his parents were ashamed of his
> condition.
>> >
>> > "He was the smartest boy around, now he's turned into this,"
>> Gyenshen's
>> > mother says in the film. "The cleverest child has gone to waste.
>> Without
>> > eyes a
>> > man in not complete."
>> >
>> > Such beliefs are common among Tibetans.
>> >
>> > "It's because of bad deeds in my past life that I am blind in this
>> one,"
>> > Tenzin said.
>> >
>> > Because of high altitude and exposure to ultraviolet rays, Tibet has
>> high
>> > rates of blindness and eye disease. The incidence of cataract
>> blindness in
>> > Tibet
>> > is about six times that found elsewhere in China, according to
> UNESCO.
>> > Despite this, Buddhist pilgrims and nomads in Tibet believe that
> blind
>> > people are
>> > possessed by demons or that they have done something wrong in a past
>> life.
>> >
>> > In the film, two blind teens walk through town and someone calls to
>> them,
>> > "You deserve to eat your father's corpse."
>> >
>> > "These superstitions can be overcome," Tenberken told the Associated
>> Press.
>> >
>> > She is living proof, and is slowly changing the face of blindness in
>> Tibet
>> > and around the world.
>> >
>> > Born in Germany, Tenberken became blind by 13. When she later
> traveled
>> to
>> > Tibet, she was startled by the Tibetans' treatment of their blind.
> She
>> also
>> > found
>> > that they had no Braille system, so she created one. She met her
>> partner,
>> > Paul Kronenberg, while in Tibet and they opened the school to pass
> on
>> the
>> > techniques
>> > she had learned to live successfully as a blind person.
>> >
>> > Open for 10 years now, the preparatory school hosts 30 to 35
> students
>> who
>> > stay for two to three years, Tenberken said. After learning
> techniques
>> and
>> > studying
>> > English, Chinese and Tibetan among other subjects, the students
>> integrate
>> > themselves into regular schools and return home, often to work and
>> thrive.
>> >
>> > "I think the climb was one in many accomplishments for the
> students,"
>> > Tenberken said. "It's good to find your own borders and figure out
>> methods
>> > to get
>> > around them."
>> >
>> > During the expedition, the top became an impossibility for at least
>> three of
>> > the climbers, who were sent back after suffering headaches and
>> altitude
>> > sickness.
>> >
>> > "Part of me felt like a failure," Weihenmayer said. "In some ways,
>> having to
>> > send those kids down, I wanted to make them feel special and I
> thought
>> maybe
>> > they felt the opposite."
>> >
>> > The remaining group stayed below the summit of Lhakpa Ri for five
> more
>> days,
>> > and though they never made it to the top they found a summit of
> their
>> own.
>> >
>> > "Everyone created their own meaning from the trip," Weihenmayer
> said.
>> "The
>> > changes in the kids are mostly all Sabriye's influence, but the
> climb
>> was
>> > extra
>> > fuel."
>> >
>> > The six young adults have been able to travel for the film's
> release,
>> and
>> > Gyenshen attended the Tokyo premiere alone to head a
>> question-and-answer
>> > session.
>> > He now runs the only Braille publishing company in Tibet.
>> >
>> > Dachung now studies at Braille Without Borders vocational school.
>> Sohnam
>> > Bhumtso attends a regular school and is the head of her class.
>> >
>> > Tashi and Tenzin opened the largest medical massage clinic in Lhasa.
>> Kyila
>> > went to the U.K. to study English and returned to Tibet to help run
>> Braille
>> > Without
>> > Borders.
>> >
>> > And Weihenmayer started a program in Colorado called Global
> Explorers,
>> in
>> > which he climbs with blind children in the U.S.
>> >
>> > Copyright 2008 The
>> > Associated Press.
>> > All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast,
>> > rewritten, or redistributed.
>> >
>> > Find this article at:
>> >
>>
> http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/04/02/film.climbingblind.ap/i
>> ndex.html
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