New Horizons: Discovering Thailand

We are delighted to give you more good news on this White Cane Day! ETI is in the process of exploring the possibilities of expansion to Asia. To this end, Sara Minkara, our founder, and I, Ahsen Utku, traveled to Thailand in early October to discover the field. Needless to say, Thailand is an amazing country. It is now the rainy season, but still very hot (compared to Boston)! The tuk-tuk drivers, who are always way above the speed limit, made us re-define everything we knew about the culture of public transportation. 

People packed at the back of a "tuk-tuk" in traffic. Tuk-tuk is an essential part of the daily life in Bangkok.

People packed at the back of a "tuk-tuk" in traffic. Tuk-tuk is an essential part of the daily life in Bangkok.

We are also deeply thankful to have the best hosts ever: Hartanto, Aom, Ouan, Ot, Som, Not, and others. Their hospitality was at its peak, and now the idea that having Thai brothers and sisters at the other end of the world makes us very happy. 

Sara, Ahsen, our Thai hosts and two rows of Thai girl students who greeted us at the Wat Arun Temple.

Sara, Ahsen, our Thai hosts and two rows of Thai girl students who greeted us at the Wat Arun Temple.

However, as a part of our field research, we witnessed another sheer reality of Thailand, which is universally shared by every society: the blind people of Thailand. While we were busy with building strong relationships with the main players in Thailand with regard to blind and disability rights, we were also amazed by the fact that once given the chance, blind kids could achieve the highest goals, just like any other person with or without disabilities.  

Sara speaking with a blind literature teacher in the classroom 

Sara speaking with a blind literature teacher in the classroom 

Through our visit, we met the main players on the ground: educational institutions and schools serving the blind youth, foundations, human rights organizations, youth groups, blind professionals and activists. Meeting so many passionate and hardworking people and organizations dedicated to the empowerment of blind youth filled us with hope. We will soon have more exciting news of upcoming projects, so stay tuned!

Mr. Torpong Selanon, the President of Thailand Association of the Blind, presenting gifts to Sara. 

Mr. Torpong Selanon, the President of Thailand Association of the Blind, presenting gifts to Sara. 

Mr. Montian Buntan, former President of TAB, showing us aroung in the TAB building and introducing the TAB workers.

Mr. Montian Buntan, former President of TAB, showing us aroung in the TAB building and introducing the TAB workers.

Sara and Hartanto having a conversation with the officials of The Bangkok School for the Blind

Sara and Hartanto having a conversation with the officials of The Bangkok School for the Blind

Sara, Ahsen and the Amnesty International Thailand team in Bangkok.

Sara, Ahsen and the Amnesty International Thailand team in Bangkok.


Sara and the Mercy Center team in Bangkok. 

Sara and the Mercy Center team in Bangkok.