Kirin Techawongtham

Activist for the Blind

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Kirin, or Sai, lost her sight at the age of 13 as a result of a brain tumour, but the spirited youngster was determined to lead as normal a life as possible. A recent graduate of the Independence Training Program at the Louisiana Center for the Blind in Ruston, Louisiana, she has already started her graduate studies in mental health counseling at Johns Hopkins University. Her latent curiosity and love of learning isn’t limited to the academic either. Sai’s interests also cover music, arts and crafts, martial arts and cooking. A couple of years ago she was introduced to Luther, a black Labrador that became her guide dog. However, while back in Thailand for a holiday she experience dinstances of prejudice and discrimination not only as a young woman but also asa disabled person and a guide-dog user. Not to be cowed, she reacted by setting up a Facebook page called MyNameisLuther, which she uses to raise awareness of service animals and a better understanding of the disabilities they help individuals to overcome.