In 2010 we started to support Kyila in making her dream come true: “Empowering the blind before they become disabled!!!” Global Roots and other organizations joined hands and Kyila was able to create in Shigatze the first kindergarten for blind children in China.
Facing many difficulties, the 26 year old Tibetan woman persevered to educate children and find or create jobs for them. She started with 0 children and now has 16. In 2014 Kyila started the next phase of her plan to allow better sustainability and quality for her protégés. Moving the kindergarten to Lhasa and opening a cafe and massage center to generate income. Global roots volunteer Emilie and project manager Patrick arrived in Lhasa with an brand new Italian coffee machine, and a set of ideas to further improve Kyila’s operations and the well being and future of the children.
The team first trained the staff at the coffee shop in making coffee and serving customers. The shop is ideally situated near the …. Monastery with lots of tourist traffic. At this time the staff gets 8 to 12 customers per day without marketing. Volunteers from abroad and local agencies are partnering with Kyila to promote her small place. Per Kyila “this is not going to be much at first but it’s a good way for to train our older children and give them a job, and get exposure to our kindergarten”. She displays many tools and games in shelves to bring awareness of how blind children learn, operate and interact with the world. “people always ask how we answer the phone, read and write email, it’s better now with smart phones and your support for Braille machines”.
We discussed nutrition and unfortunately the quality of vegetables in lhasa is poor, where farmers heavily rely on pesticides and fertilizer “we want our children to eat good organic vegetables and the only economical way is to grow them ourselves.” We visited farms growing pumpkins, tomatoes and mushroom and have good contacts on renting a greenhouse. 2015 will see to having tomatoes and cabbage for the kids.
Thanks to the generosity of an oversea donor, we searched and acquired a golden Labrador. “This puppy will be the perfect companion and guardian for the kids. At their age they have few opportunities to interact with animals, so this is helpful to further developed their senses and abilities.” Finding a healthy puppy was no small affair and Emilie had to wear her doctor, lawyer and buyer hat to make sure the puppy will be healthy and unharmed during his vaccination process.
“We had very exciting time choosing the puppies. At first we wanted them all, small or big, quiet or loud, but they we decided to have the smart breed which is able to sustain the cold Tibetan winters, and also be a good companion for the children. You know kids could easily hurt a small puppy so a mid size dog was best”.
Kyila overcame lots of challenges, as a single visually impaired Tibetan woman, yet she continues to demonstrate daily her leadership and dedication by educating, caring and feeding the children. Global Roots is committed to make it as easy and efficient as possible for Kyila to run her kindergarten.