Case Study

Braille without borders

8 pages
November 2012
Reference: IMD-3-2339

Sabriye Tenberken was born near Bonn, Germany. She lost her sight slowly as a child due to a retinal disease, and her parents took her to many places so that she could store up many visual memories along with their chromatic nuances, before becoming totally blind at the age of 13. In 1997, at the age of 26, Sabriye set off by herself into the Tibet Autonomous Region – against almost everyone’s advice. According to official sources, there were more than 10,000 blind people in Tibet, many of whom were children. Blind children in Tibet had no access to any form of education and no possibility of social integration. In fact, blindness was seen as a punishment meted out for bad deeds committed in a previous life. As Sabriye traveled throughout the country on horseback to locate blind children in remote villages, it became clear that merely introducing and teaching her reading/writing method would do little to improve the situation. An institute for the blind – starting with a grammar school, followed by a vocational school – was badly needed. This marked the beginning of an incredible project built on courage, determination and hope: “Braille without Borders”. Learning Objectives: The case highlights three critical elements for social entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact to the problems that they identified: 1) How to identify the root cause of a societal issue; 2) How to get a project off the ground; 3) How to demonstrate success in order to sustain financial supports.

Social Entrepreneurship, Non-Governmental Organization
Asia, China
Braille Without Borders, Philanthropy, Non-profit Organizations Management
Field Research
© 2012
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