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Genevieve Caulfield

Name of a blind American teacher, who on 12 January 1939 founded the School for the Blind, which is today managed by the Foundation for the Blind under the Royal Patronage of Queen Sirikit Kitthiyagon. It was the first school for the blind in Southeast Asia and was in part funded by Genevieve Caulfield's own savings. It was initially located in a small house near Sala Daeng. In 1947, four Salesians Sisters joined the teaching program, and besides the additional teachers, also the position of a school manager and headmaster were installed. In 1949, the Phibun Songkram government gave permission for the lease of a +8 rai plot of royal land located at Thung Phaya Thai (ทุ่งพญาไท), which resulted in the school's move to its present location. In 1960, the School for the Blind received official recognition and on 2 August 1977, it changed its name to Bangkok School for the Blind, in Thai called Rohng Rian Son Khon Tah Bot Krung Thep (โรงเรียนสอนคนตาบอดกรุงเทพ). Genevieve Caulfield was born on 8 May 1888 and passed away in Bangkok on 12 December 1972. In recognition of her work for the blind, especially in Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, Genevieve Caulfield received several awards, as well as a statue made by the sculptor Misiam Yipinsoi (มีเซียม  ยิบอินซอย), that was inaugurated by the former premier Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn (ถนอม กิตติขจร), on 12 December 1983, 11 years after her death. She is also remembered on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2009 to commemorate her work and mark the 37th anniversary of her demise (fig.). In 1979, Queen Sirikit opened Thailand's first Garden for the Sight Impaired (fig.), which is also known as the Garden for the Blind, within a section of the Sirikit Park, itself adjacent to Chatuchak Park (fig.).