Moving China 2009: blind German woman Sabriye Tenberken

2010-02-14 07:15:00 | From:

A screenshot from CCTV shows Sabriye Tenberken, photo from CCTV.

"You're a great woman and we love you!" A blind Tibetan girl Yudron exclaimed Thursday on knowing her teacher, a blind German woman named Sabriye Tenberken, was awarded the prize of "Moving China 2009" sponsored by China Central Television.

Born in Germany in 1970, Sabriye Tenberken was diagnosed as a patient of pigmentary retinopathy at the age of two and became totally blind at 12. However, she pursued her dream with confidence and expectation and entered Germany's Bonn University to learn English, the computer and the Tibetan language.

A screenshot from CCTV shows Sabriye Tenberken (R) with her student, photo from CCTV.

She founded the first school for the blind children in Tibet's capital of Lhasa - the Tibet Training Center for the Blind - in 1998 with the help of her husband.

According to Guangming Daily, she thought about the idea of founding a school for the blind in Tibet while traveling to Tibet in 1997. "As a high-altitude plateau, Tibet is exposed to strong sunshine, which results in a high incidence of eye diseases. That's why I want to establish a school for the blind," She said.

She invented the first Tibetan braille alphabet based on the braille. "It is so hard to imagine a world without reading for the blind. I just want to create a convenient and equal environment for the blind," Tenberken said. 

A screenshot from CCTV shows Sabriye Tenberken's student receiving a prize for her, photo from CCTV.

The school opened in November of 2000 with the support of the Chinese government. It offers to teach languages such as the Tibetan, Chinese and English and life skills including self-help skills, massage and handcraft for the blind children. Children can also have music, art and physical exercise lessons in the school.

"Sabriye Tenberken is our model and she can do horse riding and mountain climbing. In 2004, she even invited Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person who ever conquered Mount Qomolangma, to guide us to reaching the top of a mountain at an altitude of 6,500 meters." Yudron said,"She lets us know that our future is in our own hands."

To date, 155 students have graduated from the school. Some have opened their own massage clinics; others have become interpreters and some others still continue their study in other schools.

"I hope they have their own dreams and we can make a better world." Tenberken said with a smile.

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