Our Travel Specialist Ceri took time out of her Tibet trip to stop by our local project Braille Without Borders and meet the wonderful students and staff there. She’s brought home some lovely photos and stories from her experience…
When I decided to go to Tibet in February this year, it was just around the time that we had decided to source some unique and interesting new charities for our travellers to donate to upon booking their trips. The timing was perfect and I jumped at the chance to find one to support in Tibet, as I feel quite strongly about the whole Tibetan cause. I stumbled upon Braille Without Borders and organised a visit during my trip whilst in Lhasa in June.
My friends and I rallied a group together from the hotel to come with us, and everyone told me afterwards that they were so glad I had invited them and that it was the highlight of their time in Lhasa.
Nyima waited for us in reception and it was a surprise to me to find he was blind himself. He led me arm in arm as we weaved through the busy streets with beeping rickshaws to the boarding school and pointed out all of the places of interest nearby. To be honest, it was pretty humbling.
The project was set up by a German lady who was visiting Tibet and discovered that there was no Tibetan script for the blind. Blind herself, she developed Tibetan Braille herself and implemented it across Tibet. Later she opened a Rehabilitation and Training Centre starting with 6 children from different villages to board at the preparatory school.
In Tibet, there is a high percentage of blindness due to high altitude, sun and impoverished living conditions. Their future was once bleak but now with education, vocational farming projects and massage businesses they can become independent and fully integrated.
We spent an afternoon playing ball in the yard with the children and were impressed by their English skills. They were very warm and friendly and showed us how their braille typing machines work and read to us. They were very proud of their school and their achievements.
If you’re planning a trip in Tibet and are interested in visiting this great project, you can check out our responsible travel page for more details. All donations go towards the maintenance of the school, braille materials and vocational skills and training. I’ll happily chat to anyone who wants to more about it and would encourage anyone visiting Tibet to go there as a MUST DO and worthwhile experience.