Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 07/09/2010

Sabriye Tenberken, Class of 2006

Founder, Braille Without Borders

It’s been a crazy, busy life for Sabriye since attending the Academy of Achievement Summit in 2006. The good kind of crazy busy, however.

Sabriye completed work on the documentary ‘BLINDSIGHT’ about the mountain climbing project she undertook with her blind students from Braille Without Borders. The group, along with Erik Weihenmayer (first blind mountaineer to climb Mount Everest), documented their mountain climbing experience in the Himalayas.

After establishing the preparatory school, the vocational training farm, the Braille book printing press and the self-integration project of Braille Without Borders in Tibet, China, Sabriye, along with BWB’s co-founder, partner and soul mate, Paul Kronenberg, started to realize their dream institute, the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE).

The IISE focuses on leadership training in order to create social change. The participants, all over 22 years of age, are inspiring visionaries who mainly come from developing nations. All of them have overcome significant life challenges ranging from vision impairment, disability, poverty, war discrimination and exploitation. They have a passion to make the world a better place and the strength to be forces of good rather than victims of circumstance.

Workshops and hands-on practice in the areas of management, public speaking, communication, leadership, fund raising, budgeting, bookkeeping, project proposal writing, marketing, public relations, computing with open software technology and others give IISE’s participants all the necessary tools to start their own social projects. All selected participants receive a full scholarship, including travel costs, accommodation and a high-end course by international experts.

Speaking in ecological terms, construction on one of the greenest campuses in India was completed and the first batch of 20 future social entrepreneurs from 13 different countries all over the world were welcomed in 2009. They have graduated and are already sending back news of project success stories.

For, example, one participant from Sierra Leone, whose objective was to create a micro-credit bank for war widows, is up and running. Recently, the first 100 war widows received a micro credit. The new batch of 29 participants from 18 countries was welcomed to IISE in 2010.

Additionally, Sabriye and Braille Without Borders were honored as Laureates of the Mother Teresa Award in 2006. Apart from receiving a great honour of being counted among the 15 most influential overseas experts in China in the last 30 years in 2008, Sabriye was chosen among 13 others for the ‘You Bring Charm to China Award’ in 2009.

Her three books, “ My Path Leads to Tibet” (2000), “Tashis neue Welt” (2000), and “The Seventh Year – From Tibet to India” (2007), document her life experience and learning till now.

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