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My Path Leads to Tibet: The Inspiring Story of the Blind Woman Who Brought Hope to the Children of Tibet Paperback – November 6, 2013
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"A phenomenal woman." —O, the Oprah Magazine
"Carries one along, in a sort of wonder, from the first word to the last." —Oliver Sacks
"Genuinely inspiring . . . Tenberken demonstrates a nuanced understanding of her role as a Westerner in Tibet." —Washington Post Book World
"Impressive, moving, and refreshingly free of sentimentality and self-pity." —Kirkus Reviews
From the Inside Flap
While studying Chinese and Asian civilizations in college, Sabriye Tenberken was stunned to learn that in Tibet blind children were living in appalling conditions—shunned by society, abandoned, and left to their own devices. Sabriye, who had lost her sight at the age of twelve as the result of a retinal disease, promised herself early on that she would never allow her blindness to turn her into an invalid. When she heard of a place where sightlessness was practically akin to leprosy, the decision was instant: she would go to Tibet to help these children.
Armed with nothing but her conviction and determination, she single-handedly devised a Tibetan braille alphabet and opened the first school for the blind in Lhasa, with only a handful of students. From its modest beginnings, that school has grown into a full-fledged institution for the visually impaired. In My Path Leads to Tibet, with a new introduction by Rosemary Mahoney and an updated epilogue, Sabriye shares the inspiring story of how she shone an unlikely light in a dark place.
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In Sabriye's epilogue to the 2014 edition, she quotes a nine-year-old Tibetan boy at her school as saying with pleasure that 'he is the only one in his family who can read and write, the only one in his village fluent in three different languages, and the only one in his region who can send emails, and—above all—who knows that the world is round. And all this because he is blind!' With that, one catches a glimpse of the great accomplishment of this young German blind lady in faraway Tibet.
Although the book is about a very serious subject, it is a lot of fun to read. It is written in a lively style. And the many twists and turns in the story make simply fascinating reading.
A highly recommended book!
In China, however, the people don't know what a white cane is--they think it's some kind of walking stick! Many of the people who see her think she's some dimwit, who doesn't know how to avoid water puddles, or how to do simple navigation.
The author developed R.P (Retinitis Pigmentosa) at a very young age. Here's the key to the story: Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Sabriye decides to go where no one has gone before. She is intent on helping the poor blind children in Tibet--and no one is going to stop her!
And so, that is exactly what the author did. She didn't listen to all the naysayers and doubters. Overcoming a huge amount of obstacles the author establishes a home for blind children in Tibet. MY PATH LEADS TO TIBET is the story of this grand adventure. This book relates the adventures that the author encounters on this mind-boggling trip to bring braille to the little blind children. In Tibet, blind children were seen as either a curse, or a way to make money for the family (by begging.) Many of the blind kids were simply cast aside.
The author's journey sometimes meant riding horses near cliffs, sleeping in huts filled with rats, or having her visa canceled. Even her sponsoring organization was not faithful in supporting her, and saw Sabriye as more of a troublemaker than anything else. You name it, Sabriye encountered, then overcame these obstacles.
MY PATH LEADS TO TIBET is an absolutely unbelievable story! Except it REALLY HAPPENED. This book is an inspiration for others who suffer similar disadvantages. It's an inspiration to others who do NOT have these disadvantages.
Finally, this story has special meaning for this reviewer, since my daughter is gradually losing her sight to the same eye disease--R.P. I am glad that this wonderful person, Sabriye Tenberken, had the courage and inspiration to pursue her dreams. There are lots of little blind children in the world who have a better life thanks to the author. My hat is off to her.
This is the story of a young woman who became blind at an early age, went through college and studied the difficult language of Tibet. Then Sabriye decided to explore Tibet on horseback! What she experienced was beyond belief and motivated her and her friend, Paul, to begin a school for blind children. Braillewithoutborders.org.
May this book enflame the reader to have the same, stop-at-nothing drive to accomplish great things that, in turn, will ignite purpose in others.