Dear friends and supporters,
the 19th of September 2007. The suit-cases for Germany were already
however only our passports with the re-entry visas and the long
extension of our agreement were still missing. This made us a bit
would happen if we did not get an extension of the agreement? Of course
training centre for the blind should at some time stand on its own
preferably sooner than later.
thoughts ran through our minds on the morning of the 19th of September
we decided to act. Together
with Wangchen Geleg, the vice-president of our government counterpart
Disabled Person's Federation" we invited the head of the Foreign
Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region to visit the school. In this
he told us, that he is always happy to visit both the BWB projects in
Shigatse. "I like to talk to the blind students, they are intelligent
very motivated. And then I am happily surprised that everything runs
when the foreign supervisors are not here." This remark was taken as a
compliment. But could it also mean that we now were regarded as
hardly dared to ask the question about prolongation of the contract.
did however, The head of the Foreign Affairs Office told us: "Of course
you will get an extension, I will work on it right away.”
Students of the
everything in our lives works out as smoothly as on this day! In only a
hours everything was arranged so the previously prepared five-year
could be signed.
was made with a glass of Great Wall wine to celebrate the new era in
shall be working together. And within an hour, the students and
organized a Momo Feast. Kyila, a 22 year old blind former student, now
of the management team in the school explained her joy: "it is not as
though we can’t run the project when you are not here! Yes, at the
felt sometimes a bit challenged, but in the meantime we grew with the
are not nervous anymore, to go as representatives of BWB to important
to lead high-ranking delegations through the project or to do
newspaper interviews. We are also a little proud that you trust us with
that! But it is nice to know that both of you come by now and then!"
well-known Chinese mountain climber, Mr. Wangshi had become
Gyurmis desire to study piano and singing. Thereupon he organized a
training course at Lhasa University not only for 13 year old Gyurmi,
for the particularly talented singer 20-year old Kelsang Tashi. After
conclusion of this training, both shall be qualified for advanced
travels through Asia
you nervous?" I asked Gyendsen, when Nyima and I said goodbye to him at
Lhasa airport. "No, I am not!! Why? Should I?!" I believe, I would
have been mighty nervous if I were to travel all alone to several
countries and on top of it would be “flying blind” the first time in my
Gyendsen takes everything with an enormous amount of fun and ease.
a student of the first generation, was selected from a large number of
world-wide potential candidates for the IKEDA ICT SCHOLARSHIP 2007. The
internationally selected blind and visually impaired students were then
for some weeks in computer techniques in Malaysia before travelling to
In Tokyo, Gyendsen participated in a screening of the documentary film
“Blindsight”. From Japan we received news from a visitor who wrote:
film Gyendsen was “stormed” by beautiful Japanese young women. He
Q&A session off like a veteran celebrity.”..Gyendsen
went blind at age nine after an eye infection. His parents could not
themselves to this stroke of fate for their boy.
Against the advice of the
teachers they took him out of school and tried to hide him away from
activities. "We had pinned all our hopes on him", his mother said in
an interview in the film BLINDSIGHT. "But look at him now, he is
useless." Nine years after joining the BWB projects, Gyendsen is the
one from his region, who has ever been abroad, can speak three
can work with computers. At present he is running the computerised
production department and teaches computer classes to the blind students
trainees in Beijing:
Chinese organization "Chinese Disabled Person's Federation" invited
five blind students and a teacher for a comprehensive five-month course
medical massage to Beijing. After
their return they expressed their enthusiasm:
(18 years): "we learned much and made great new friends."
(17 years): "We were treated special because we were the only 6
best thing was the journey on the train to and from Beijing! I will
Yudon (15 years): "In the beginning I had some difficulties with the
Chinese language, but then it went better!"
Tashi (18 years): "When we were bored, we played football. But there
no ball with a bell inside as we have in Lhasa. So we played with a
bottle with a few pebbles inside."
(14 years): "it was great that our teacher Mr. Zenor la was with us. He
made it a lot easier for me to dare to speak Chinese."
All students passed the exams and received a
national license in medical massage.
competition and radio play
2007 the teachers organized a story writing competition. The students
asked to write a story on one of the following topics: Animal, human or
stories. In the category "animal stories" fourteen year old Jampa
Kelsang won with his story of The Tiger and the Deer. The story is
about a Deer
that in a cunning way defeats a strong Tiger.
category ghost stories, five year old Nyima Punzog won with his
story with the even more remarkable title"The Ghost in the Glass
the category "human stories" is the seventeen year old Dachung with a
love story titled The Unforgettable Story. It tells about a blind boy
complications that arise when he falls in love with a sighted girl. The
Unforgettable Story was made into an English radio play. The students
BWB project act as speakers and musicians.
as the third foreign language
Kyila, two of our former pupils, learn German. Their reason: "More and
people in Tibet speak English so they thought it would be beneficial to
another language, also to guide German tourists through the project!”.”
sounds beautifully macho, a little like the East Tibetan Khampa
in the government middle school.
summer Nyima, Bungdso, Sonam Banden and Kajamkja graduated from basic
elementary school. They all had highest marks in their classes so it
thought that entering middle school should not be a problem. However
education department was very reluctant to accept blind students at
Only after the teachers of the elementary school and their former
put in a good word for Nyima and Bungdso they were finally accepted. At
all four students rank among the top 5 best students of the entire
|Sonam Bungso &
Nyima (in 2002)
Training farm in Shigatse/Pelshong
autumn of 2007 the construction work of the bio-bakery started. The
situated next to the scenic duck pond and will feature an
“saucisserie”, and a small café coffee house. The project has
background: Our training farm has been growing organic rye, barley and
for several years now. Initially we used these crops to feed the
the livestock. It was Padma Wangyal, a Tibetan who has lived and worked
Germany as a baker for many years, who suggested we could add value to
growing of these crops by starting a bakery. He will come to Tibet to
local staff and students. This
project is supported by the Canada Fund, Tibet Children Fund, a
Japanese Foundation, The Spencer Foundtion and the Bio-Bakery
"Maerkisches Landbrot" in Berlin. .
the hard work of all staff and trainees in the Shigatse farm, the
production unit and mini-greenhouses were completed in 2007. BWB’s
compost production takes mother natures one year cycle and reduces it
month. The person most excited by this compost production is our
Tibetan farmer. Farmers being sceptical by nature, Tibetan farmers for
reasons are extremely sceptical. Tibetan farmers have relied on a
method of farming for over a millennium in one of the most inhospitable
on the planet. So when these farmers get excited about a new method you
imagine that BWB is pleasantly encouraged.
construction in KERALA
"The International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs"
setting up the International Institute for Social entrepreneurs [IISE]
participants (age 18+) who have the right initiative, motivation and
will be selected, trained and empowered.
one year's course the participants will be practically trained in
fundraising, PR activities, project planning, computer technology and
communication and soft skills. After this training they will be in a
to speak for themselves and help to change the attitudes towards
groups through setting up social and/or environmental projects in their
regions or countries.
impaired people who have overcome obstacles in life are problem
have empathy towards social problems. Therefore the IISE will
on participants who are blind and/or partially sighted.
to the hard work of Tigi Philip, our local administrative director,
Bhadresh, a trustee of the Charity charity-Trust "Braille of the
Borders" and a number of friends and supporters, the center in Kerala
slowly takes shape.
located in the pristine purity of a little village by the side of the
Vellayani lake in Trivandrum Kerala. The campus is built in an
friendly ethnic style based on the concepts of the renowned architect,
Laurie Baker and implemented by Sajan of Costford.
incorporated rain water harvesting ,biogas ,solar/wind energy and waste
management systems along with ecosan toilets. The idea is to make this
a model for all future institutions of its kind.
international training programme will start at the beginning of 2009.
then the following activities are planned:
Finishing the buildings
Landscaping of the property
for staff: national and international. (Please check our website
the summer 2008 onward seminars for local blind people in computer- ,
and orientation- training and daily living skills will be held.
of training for participants in the first and second year will be
Braille without borders and other sponsors. While we have received many
so far, we are still looking for more. If you know any blind and/or
impaired motivated people, please do inform them about the IISE
let them contact us. More information on the course and application
be found at www.braillewithoutborders.org
seventh year" is now available as a talking-book in German. In the
of 2007 it was produced by “Luebbe Audio Verlag”. It is a unique
the book was totally read by blind people. Four blind German children
represented the Tibetan characters of Kyila, Tendsin, Gyendsen and
Bungzo and Sabriye
read her own voice.
- News on
the film "Blindsight"
against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas, Blindsight follows
gripping adventure of six Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the
foot Lhakpa Ri on the north side of Mount Everest.
has won several international awards and will premiere in the USA in March 2008.
BLINDSIGHT has been shown in cinemas in Germany, the Netherlands,
and Australia. In Japan there was even a screening for princess Kiko
princess Mako. It was the first time ever that members of the Royal
to the cinema.
friends and supporters,
we have achieved so far could have been realized without your support,
confidence and patience. On behalf
of all the blind students and all the staff members, we would like to
YOU VERY MUCH for your interest in and support for
appreciate your sharing this newsletter with family, friends and others
interested. More information on BWB can be fond at: www.braillewithoutborders.org
|BLINDSIGHT FILM POSTER
JAPAN, HOLLAND and USA
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