The story of Helen Keller is well known — she was a respected American author, political activist and lecturer, born in 1880, who became deaf and blind at 19 months old. While Helen Keller’s success is remarkable so too is the story of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. At the age of 21 Anne Sullivan began tutoring six-year-old Helen Keller. Helen was deaf, blind and mute from a childhood illness. Anne Sullivan was frustrated, having no way to communicate with Helen Keller, whose behaviour was wild and totally out of control — some said “animal like”. Anne had a vision and a belief that she could help Helen, even though it took great persistence managing Helen’s many wild tantrums.
This incredible teacher–student relationship went on for almost 50 years. Anne Sullivan’s work teaching Helen allowed her to eventually graduate with honours from Radcliffe College. Helen published her autobiography at 22 and continued to be a prolific author. She became the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Helen and Anne travelled the world together, involving themselves in many social causes.
Anne showed courage and much belief, conviction and commitment towards her vision that one day Helen would be able to communicate with others. Anne held this belief on behalf of a girl who couldn’t yet see that it was possible.
Anne’s lifelong belief in helping one woman make huge contributions to the field of education and her legacy changed the world of the blind forever. A woman with all the qualities of a True Believer for sure!
What we can achieve, with those who believe, has no limits!
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