- Chinese Name:盲文无国界组织
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Integration and acceptance of blind people into/by their surrounding society
Braille Without Borders was established in 1998 by Sabriye Tenberken (German), and Paul Kronenberg (Dutch). Sabriye, who is blind herself, while studying at the University of Bonn, developed a Braille script for the Tibetan language. The name Braille Without Borders reflects the founders’ determination to bring down the barriers of social exclusion that prevent blind people from playing a participative and inclusive role in society.
Since 1998, BWB has established a rehabilitation and training centre for the blind in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which includes four main programmes:
1. A preparatory school
This programme offers training for blind children from all over the TAR. The students receive intensive ‘orientation and mobility’ training, learn about daily living skills and to read and write the Tibetan, Chinese and English Braille scripts. After one or two years the students are prepared for integration into mainstream schools. In the summer of 2012, the preparatory school had thirty students.
The local management team of BWB coordinates with the mainstream schoold that receive blind students from BWB’s preparatory school. The centre also helps to provide specialised equipment for blind or visually impaired students such as Braille books.
3. Braille book production
BWB produces Braille schoolbooks with the help of a computer game developed by a blind, German mathematician that converts Tibetan script into Tibetan Braille. The centre also distributes Chinese Braille schoolbooks published by the China’s Braille Publishing House in Beijing. Within the BWB organisation a Tibetan Test-to-speech synthesizer was developed and a Braille library was established that supplies Braille books, audio books, materials on computer accessibility and tutorials on accessible book design.
4. Vocational training courses
In areas such as medical massage and physiotherapy (Lhasa), music, animal husbandry, agriculture, baking bread, cheese production, compost production, market gardening, kitchen management, knitting, carpet weaving etc. In the summer of 2012 the vocational centre in Shigatse had a total of 81 trainees and students.
The counterpart of Braille Without Borders is the Tibet Disabled Person Federation.