Sedona Film Festival Presents: “Monk With A Camera”

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Thanks to the Sedona Film Festival, years ago I watched a film: “Blindsight” about blind children in Tibet. That led me to my Tibetan visit in 2010 and meeting Kyila, now director and founder of Kiki’s Kids! Want to know more, start reading my blog from the very beginning…and learn how you can help Kiki’s Kids with me!

This year I saw the movie “Monk With A Camera” and truly loved learning the story about Nicholas (Nicky) Vreeland who becomes a Dalai Lama-appointed abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India. He is the first Westerner to achieve such a position; therefore, it is a worthwhile documentary to see. I loved Nicky’s photography and the story of how his photography had helped raise funds for Rato Monastery. Of course, I loved seeing the Dalai Lama, his laugh and I always enjoy his humor.

 

 

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Update: Holiday Time For Kyila, Yet Working!

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I recently heard from Kyila and was glad to hear she took some holiday time. As everyone knows when working with young people it is a full-time task, and especially so since she has residential responsibilities.

I was expecting to hear that she truly had a holiday time of relaxation; however, Kyila was also traveling the rural areas of Tibet and had discovered twins with major physical disabilities. Yes they were blind, and also unable to move around; therefore, the family had kept them often in one place. When that happens leg bones do not grow as they should, especially in the growing years of ones young life. Everyone needs movement! Leg bones and muscles to grow and take shape….from birth to old age, so do not forget this information!

Kyila made connections for the family to have the young children see a doctor in Lhasa, and if there was hope then they would travel to a Shanghai hospital. BUT, the children are with bodies so deformed there seems to be no hope to help them with their physical disability. When I receive an additional update, I will keep you posted.

Namaste!

Just One Person….

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Well once again I noticed a roadside sign board, again in the USA. This one: “It takes just one person to change one life.”

Ah yes! Kyila, founder of Kiki’s Kids, shared with me she was taking the usual January-time holiday break….much needed time for herself, teachers and staff as they all have round-the-clock responsibilities with their 3- 5 year olds at the kindergarten. When Kyila returned from holiday, she shared with me that during some of her holiday time she had been in the very rural areas of Tibet visiting families. (Quite honestly, all of Tibet seems rural to me so I am almost wondering which direction very rural!) Once again, I know Kyila is dedicated to the cause and always seems to be focused on it…year-round.

Anyway, she visited a family with 2 blind children. Blindness is just the tip of the concern. Since they are not moving around they are becoming physically handicapped. They are the only 2 children in this family and so fortunate for Kyila’s help. She is working to get the 2 children to a doctor in Lhasa, and then if there is any hope for the children they will continue on to a hospital in China.

In this case, it is one person making a change in the life of TWO children…and their parents.

My hope is there to be less blind young children with the additional handicaps.

Thanks Kyila for your work!

Childhood, Oh So Precious!

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It was simply stated on a roadside sign board in the USA, “Their future is determined by their first 5 years.” As I read the statement my mind snapped to the children I had seen in Tibet in 2010, and what had also become the start of my journey to help a young woman realize her dream. She too knew the importance of the early formative years of every child needing a safe environment, good health, safe food and water, and a supportive loving family.

This young lady is blind and knew how fortunate she was to develop skills early on in life thanks to The Center for The Blind where she attended school…and it allowed her to learn at other institutions too. But most importantly she knew that some children are literally tied to a location in their home so they do not get hurt, yet with no social interactions and no movement, they also have not much of a life. Family members go on with their responsibilities but they have no way to care for the blind baby. Even if they knew how important the first 5 years of life are for a child, they have to eke out their own living to be able to provide their child with something!

Fortunately, Kyila, founder of Kiki’s Kids, is most interested in helping the 3 – 5 year olds who are not getting all the necessary support they should receive from their own family. We who are interested in helping Kyila’s children and who  know every childhood is precious, try in our own way to support her efforts. Through donations to Global Roots, earmarked for Kiki’s Kids, much success has been happening to have these children have safe, healthy, and happy childhood! Please donate what and when you can to support Kyila’s efforts. All is greatly appreciated. If you can too, follow this blog to learn more about what is happening at Kiki’s Kids.

Kiki’s Kids to Move in 2014

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Currently, Kiki’s Kids is located in Shigatse, at a beautiful location on the Braille Without Borders farm … but, quite a few hours drive from Lhasa … I know this first-hand because I had spent some time in Shigatse before Kiki’s Kids had been located there. It is a drive….and worse yet when one needs to get to a hospital in the middle of the night with any number of sick children!

The children in Kiki’s Kids range from 2 – 7 years of age and often are ill; therefore, being closer to the hospital in Lhasa, which is a better one than the Shigatse hospital, is what has prompted the move to Lhasa. With the help of some individuals and the Tibet Disabled Person’s Federation, a new location has been determined. This may also help those of us who are interested in visiting an easier opportunity to do so.

Will keep you posted as more information becomes available about the move. Twenty-three students and 8 adults will be transitioning to a new location with Kyila sometime in 2014. I know they will be successful there too. Thank you for your support of Kyila’s work with her team and children!

Namaste.

 

Ill Child, No Problem … Kyila Does It All!

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As every classroom teacher knows, he or she is responsible for the children in his or her charge. Teaching, guiding student thinking, evaluating their work, creating scenarios for the children to interact with each other, conflict resolution, a safe comfortable classroom. I loved all of the work, except when a child was ill. I recall telling my students if they needed to vomit, there was a garbage pail in the room for their use and he or she could take the rear classroom door as the fastest route to the nurse’s office. (I did admit to them their vomit would only bring on the same reflexive action from me and it would not be a good scene!) And then my students, went home at the end of their school day.

Kyila has 3 – 5 year old children that stay all day and night. Few live close enough to go home at the end of their day at Kiki’s Kids. As a result, Kyila is responsible for all beyond the educational classroom environment. Clothe, feed, sleep… many more hours with continued responsibility of her children. The closest I ever got to this type of responsibility was with a Cadette Girl Scout troop on our monthly year-round overnight camping trips. I understood the huge responsibility I had while with them and the sense of joy when all the young girls returned home at the end of the weekend!

Kyila does not have that opportunity. Kiki’s Kids provides safe surroundings for the children, good food and a positive learning environment, 24 hours, 7 days a week. You have read through the years about Kyila following up on children needing eye surgery, etc. She is on-call all the time and this includes the midnight runs to a local hospital. Imagine needing to address the concern of a young child who cannot articulate exactly his or her problem. Imagine Kyila needing a driver, and she and the driver taking the child to medical care more than an hour away. It is all very scary especially when needing to calm a frightened child. It all needs to be done to be sure the child is okay. While everyone may return at three in the morning, the concern for the child remains with Kyila….because she is responsible for the child. Follow-up care needs to happen at a larger hospital four hours away; another day later in the week and that will be accomplished. The child will be taken care of and life at Kiki’s Kids will return to normal, until the next emergency. Educators, care-takers, parents, guardians all know the huge responsibility that can sap energy from you with no moment’s notice….you just do what needs to be done for the sake of the child. Call it caring; call it love; call it concern; call it what you wish. It must be done!

Kyila does it all; please consider supporting her efforts by donating to Kiki’s Kids. You can donate through Global Roots and specify it is for Kiki’s Kids. Kyila has poured a tremendous amount of energy into maintaining this first kindergarten in Tibet, please donate and support her efforts. Thank you!

Namaste.

NOT Nature – Deficient

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One of the newsletters Kyila, founder of Kiki’s Kids, sent to her supporters included a photo where she and her 20 students were enjoying time outdoors. I was reminded of the importance of tactile experiences for blind children, and quickly caught myself in the realization of its importance for all blind and sighted individuals. To walk among plants and animals. To feel the sunshine and wind upon ones face. To smell the scents of everyday living environs. To feel alive in the warmth or coolness of the day. Such huge differences from climate-controlled, odor-erased air of indoor environments where we often spend the majority of our time. Kudos to Kyila for allowing her students to have a full outdoor experience.

If you want to know more about our nature-deficiency, you might be interested in reading The Last Child in the Woods. But I would also encourage you to support Kyila’s efforts by clicking here for her website or Global Roots. Thanks…now take a moment for yourself and get outdoors!

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