When the Blind Actually Do Lead the Blind

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When Sabriye Tenberken travels to a new place, it is the sounds and smells she locks away in her mind. When she lost her sight as a teenager, Sabriye found herself navigating a world where she had to create her own visual imagery to survive, and to find the courage to confront a world of prejudice.

Feeling constrained by overprotective friends and a skeptical society, Sabriye set off to change the way the world sees. A lifelong love with Asia led her to Tibet. When she discovered there was no Braille system for the alphabet there — she invented one — in just two weeks.

Determined to help the country’s blind children, she founded training programs and schools, leading sightless children up the steep climbs of the Himalayas, and working to integrate them into society.


Sabriye Tenberken, founder of Braille Without Borders and author of “My Path Leads to Tibet.”