Braille Without Borders
Braille without Borders' main goal is the integration and acceptance of the blind in the Tibetan society. Their work is through four major projects:
Before the opening of Braille without Borders in 1998, blind children in the Tibet Autonomous Region did not have access to education. They led a life on the margin of society with few chances of integration. According to official statistics 15% of the 2.5 million inhabitants of the T.A.R. are blind, which compared to most of the world, is well above average. The causes of visual impairment or blindness are both climatic and hygienic: dust, wind, high UV light radiation, soot in houses caused by heating with coal and/or yak dung, and a lack of vitamin A at an early age. Inadequate medical care also plays a role. Cataracts are widespread. Some blind people receive sight restoring surgery, however, there is a large group of blind people that can't be helped this way.
In the summer of 1997, Sabriye Tenberken,
blind herself, travelled within the T.A.R to investigate the possibility of
providing training for Tibetan blind and visually impaired people. Sabriye
developed a Tibetan script for the blind which combines the principles of
Braille with the special features of the Tibetan syllable-based script. In 1997