The Visionary

Though she has been sightless since the age of 12, Sabriye Tenberken has never lost her vision. She sees the needs of those who share her disability. In the late 1990s, the Bonn native, who was blinded by a congenital degenerative retinal disease, studied for a master's degree in Tibetology in her hometown. But there was no Braille alphabet for the 42 syllable characters of that complex Asian language, so she developed one — in just two weeks. "It was a matter of necessity," she explains. "I had picked Tibet as the country where I later wanted to do development work....

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