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Biography

I was born in 1940 in Mölschow on the island Usedom, Germany and became blind at age 10. After my training in ecclesiastic community work, I worked in Braille typesetting and proofreading for the Christian Blind Service in Wernigerode, Germany. Thereafter followed my theological studies in Berlin. The commission and call to set up a service for the deafblind in East Germany was given with my ordination. One special area of service was workshops for families with deafblind children, some also in Eastern Europe.
In the span of 25 years a lifetime's work with several areas of work for deafblind persons has been established in Radeberg, Germany. In 2000 a new calling was added: The development and building of a garden for blind and deafblind people.

Ruth Zacharis und Frau SchmidRuth Zacharias und Landschaftsarchitekt Stephan Damaschek
Communicating with a deafblind resident using the Lorm Deafblind Manual AlphabetRuth Zacharias with landscape architect Stephan Damaschek
Working for Deafblind People and Others
  • 2003 Symposium "Pastoral Care for People who are Deafblind" in Radeberg.
  • 1 October 2008 After intense disputes with the authorities, the opening of assisted living facilities for deafblind people in Radeberg (the first of this kind in all of Germany).
  • 2008 Active participation in the Berlin symposium for the many issues concerning people with Usher syndrome.
  • 2009 Germany-wide meeting in Radeberg for deafblind people under the topic "Achieving the Recognition of Deafblindness as a Separate Disability in its own Right and the Rights of Deafblind People". The former President of the World Federation of the Deafblind, Lex Grandia, took part in this three-day meeting.
Speaking Engagements
  • 2002 First German Conference for garden therapy in Bad Lippspringe: "The Importance of Fragrant Plants"
  • 2005 Symposium for the Board of Trustees of the German Society for the Aged: "Gardens for Social Institutions"
  • 2004 Expert Discussion in Weihenstephan: "Gardens for Deafblind People"
  • 2007 German Conference of Caritas for Elderly Care in Dresden: "Gardening with Fragrant Plants"
  • 2008 Expert Discussion in Radeberg: "More Quality of Life for People with Sensory Disabilites Through Plants with Fragrant and Tactile Qualities"
Collaboration Abroad in the Development of Sensory Gardens

• Seoul (South Korea), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Laski (Poland)
• Advisor for numerous diploma theses

Honours, inter alia

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"But by the grace of God I am what I am." 1 Corinthians 15:10

A quote from my speech after receiving the first Alma de l'Aigles Award:
"Every honour entails new responsibility! After receiving a few honours, you start thinking how very hardworking you must be and pride creeps in. It is helpful for me to remember the cyclamen plant: When it blooms, it bows its head. It reminds us to stay humble...".

  • 1995 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany presented by the Federal President Herzog in Berlin
  • 2005 Honorary citizenship of Radeberg
  • 2004 Distinguished Service Award by the State of Saxony presented by State Premier Milbradt
  • 2011 First Citizen Prize of the State of Saxony presented by State Premier Tillich
  • 2013 First "Alma de l'Aigle" Award presented by the "Society for the Advancement of Garden Culture" in Kassel
  • 2015 Life-Time-Award presented by Deafblind International

 

Alma-de-l‘-Aigel-Preis

The "Life-Time-Award"

  • 2020 Book Award for "Fragrance and Colour – Gardens Become Havens" presented by the German Association of Horticulture

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