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My Path Leads to Tibet: The Inspiring Story of How One Young Blind Woman Brought Hope to the Blind Children of Tibet Paperback – Bargain Price, January 14, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Tenberken, whose battle with retinal disease left her blind at age 13, was in her 20s, she studied Tibetan culture at the University of Bonn. Frustrated by the awkward character-recognition machinery she had to use to read Tibetan materials, she devised a Tibetan braille alphabet, so that once translated, works could be directly readable by the blind. What followed seemed natural to her: she'd go to Tibet and start a school to teach this braille to blind Tibetan children. Traveling on horseback over treacherous mountain passes, sleeping in rat-infested huts and dealing with self-interested charitable bureaucracies, Tenberken managed to keep her humor and courage. She succeeded in establishing a school, and her organization, "Braille Without Borders," continues the literacy mission in other countries. While stories of triumph over adversity are often compelling, Tenberken gives something more: her own point of view on life as a blind person. Why does she go out of her way to visit stunning landscapes? Why are colors meaningful to her? "I consider myself a very visual person," Tenberken explains, aware that not all blind people-or "sighted" people, for that matter-have "visual imaginations." "Besides, why wouldn't a world informed and described by one's imagination be better than reality?" Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-With no official encouragement-rather, the opposite-Tenberken left Germany after college to set up the first school for blind children in Tibet. She found her way into the backcountry on horseback, searching for students. These youngsters were sometimes kept at the back of the hut to be safe and to avoid shaming their families, as blindness is widely thought to be a punishment from God. She slept in flea-ridden huts, haggled for supplies, made friends who helped with her enterprise, and was caught up in Chinese red tape regarding foreign residents. Her situation was iffy for several years, but ended in triumph and a firm footing for her school. Tenberken is about to move on to other countries in hopes of duplicating her work. Not only do readers learn of her problems and how she overcame them, but they get a fascinating look at behind-the-scenes Tibet as well. It's an education to follow her path through the obstacles and disappointments of presenting and implementing a new idea in an unfamiliar culture.
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (January 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559706945
  • ASIN: B0046LUU40
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,200,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sabriye Tenberken is a young woman from Germany who happens to be blind. She has written one of the most amazing and uplifting books I have read in years. MY PATH LEADS TO TIBET is an account, in her own words (translated from the original German), of how Sabriye fulfilled her dream of helping the blind children of Tibet achieve independence and attain a sense of dignity. She has done this by establishing a school for blind children in Lhasa against incredible odds -- all alone and before she reached her 30th birthday.
There could be no better introduction than her own words: "Strange as it may seem, whenever I'm about to take a leap into the unknown, I always have the same dream. I'm standing at the top of a sand dune, looking down at the sea. The sky is clear and blue, the sea flat and dark. The sun is bright, the beach is filled with people. Then all of a sudden, on the horizon a huge towering wall of water is moving slowly toward us in total silence. Everyone is running in my direction. The wall of water, growing ever more menacing by the second, blots out most of the sky. Instead of running away, I walk toward it. And the wall of water crashes over me. To my surprise, however, instead of being crushed by its mass, I am in my dream left feeling tremendously light, filled with new energy. And I know that from now on nothing will be impossible." (pp.11-12)
Sabriye was diagnosed with a serious eye disease in childhood and became completely blind at age 12. She uses a white cane when she walks and travels around the world without assistance. In a place where she has never been before, she relies on strangers to help her and trusts that they will. She is rarely disappointed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of a young woman with an impossible dream, and how she set about accomplishing it. Tenberken was born with vision problems that led to complete blindness by the time she was a teenager. Once while she was in middle school, she and her class visited a special museum exhibit about Tibet. From that point on, she was fascinated with Tibet, and when she started university, she decided to major in Asian languages with the goal of going to Tibet. Pursuing a major in Asian languages is quite difficult for any Westerner, but even more so for a blind Westerner, since Braille materials and computer software for language study in these languages are limited, if they exist at all. Indeed, Tenberken ended up creating her own Braille system for writing Tibetan script (which proved so useful in her studies that she was even able to use her class notes to tutor sighted students in her classes). Upon graduation from university, she set off for Tibet by herself to found a school for blind children and teach them how to read and write using her Tibetan Braille alphabet with the goal of allowing them to be integrated into regular schools once they became literate. The very thought of just picking up and moving to a country that happens to be occupied by a communist government and establishing an independent school for unschooled children, especially when you yourself do not have teaching experience, sounds positively ludicrous. Fortunately for the blind children of Tibet, Tenberken doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the phrase "you can't do that"- -perhaps a result of her upbringing, since her parents obviously supported her endeavors, or perhaps a simple character trait that drives her.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. Sarfati on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sabriye Tenbergen is a young blind woman who has accomplished a great deal. Almost single-handedly, she developed a Braille script for Tibetan, then went to Tibet, where she traveled on horseback, looking for blind children to teach. Before then, blind children were hidden away or abandoned as cursed, with no future, but Sabriye was determined to give them one. So she founded a school where she taught blind children to read, as well as other life skills such as cane travel. She herself got around by cane by using landmarks in the city.
This account is just one more example of how the best humanitarian work is often founded by determined individuals with a dream. Conversely, Sabriye was opposed at almost every turn by incompetent and apathetic bureaucrats in organizations both in her native Germany and in Tibet.
She clearly loves the land and people, but is not "blind" to the reality either. The country is frightfully cold in winter as well as being prone to floods. And she noted many of the superstitions that harm the wellbeing of the people. But she noted the strengths as well, e.g. Tibetans designed houses to cope well with the cold, while the Chinese made concrete boxes that are hopeless. [Reminds me of the opposite in sub-tropical to tropical Queensland. The early settlers designed open-structured "Queenslanders" that caught the breezes very well, but later architects in New South Wales and Victoria designed houses that became convection ovens in Queensland]
Sabriye has a way of writing that seems very visual, so sometimes it's easy to forget she's blind.
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