Leonie is a happy girl who likes to laugh and have fun. And she loves unicorns. As stuffed animals or embroidered with sequins on her t-shirt. Leonie loves to touch the shape of these sequined unicorns and feels them through her fingertips. Leonie is blind from birth. She is nine years old and lives together with her parents and siblings in a small village north of Braunschweig, Germany. The family moved into a new house in May 2017 and Leonie is very proud of her pink paradise.
When she’s feeling a bit bored, she likes to listen to CDs or switches on the TV to hear the sound and paints her own picture of the world described there. A couple of weeks ago, her sister and her boyfriend took her to the cinema to see the “Minions” – great fun for Leonie. She loves to cuddle and enjoys being close to her big sister, Isabelle.
When Leonie was a baby, her mother put her outside in her baby carriage, in a pasture where there were horses, chickens, goats, cats and dogs that all belonged to the family. Right from the beginning, Jacky, a big Haflinger mare, took a particular interest in this little person, felt responsible and circled Leonie’s baby carriage again and again so that no one else could get too close to her. Still, Leonie loves her unicorns more than the real animals. She doesn’t really like to go out to the paddock or the pasture and prefers to stay in her room. She also likes to write on her typewriter or to read stories in Braille in the children’s books her parents order for her from a publishing house in Leipzig.
Leonie attends school at the “State Education Center for the Blind” in Hannover and her best friend’s name is Alex. A special transport service comes every day to take her to Hannover. Whenever there is a traffic jam on the autobahn, which unfortunately does happen quite frequently, the drive back home can take two to three hours, something that Leonie finds very annoying and makes her tired.
This series was originally created in an attempt to publish the story and pictures of Leonie in the local newspaper “Braunschweiger Zeitung”, in order to connect the story with a fundraising campaign and invite readers to donate money that was meant to pay Leonie’s piano lessons with a music teacher specially skilled for the blind. Although the story was confirmed by the newspaper’s editorial staff and everything was ready to go live, Leonie’s parents decided against publishing at the last minute. My story of Blind Leonie was published online by LensCulture.