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14:23 Jan 04 2010

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Blind German woman devoted to helping blind Tibetan kids
14:19, January 04, 2010  

Sabriye Tenberken from Germany (L) is seen with a Tibetan child. (Photo:

Though blind, Sabriye Tenberken from Germany has beautiful eyes. There is strength in her vision that can move people. It is her who has invented the Tibetan Braille and has a school built for the blind children in Tibet.

Without her efforts, those kids would not have been able to study at the school on the Jiangsu Road in Lhasa City.

Born in 1970, Tenberken was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of two and lost her eyesight at 12. With incredible willpower and perseverance, she was recruited by the University of Bonn, where she majored in English, computer science and the Tibetan language.

She later learned that that was no Braille for blind Tibetans. So, she had been wondering what life the blind Tibetans could lead without reading.

With the help of computer science and referring to Braille, Tenberken created a program for the Tibetan language similar to the Braille. In 1997, she traveled to Tibet for the first time, where she met architect Paul from the Netherlands.

Moved by what Tenberken had done, Paul decided to quit his job at home and to stay in Lhasa to be with Tenberken. Later on they got married and began their journey to establish a school for the blind children in Tibet.

Tenberken said that she still has other senses which can also help her do various things in the world.

Tenberken's idea to build the school garnered support of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government. Following several rounds of discussions, she obtained financial assistance from the German Government, so that her school was set up at last.
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