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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It Is NOT About Blueberries!

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I was washing my latest batch of blueberries from Chile for my future breakfasts. And then I noticed, “Grown with care” was the phrase on the container’s label! Why so much “care” for a blueberry? It is not feeling the “care”, yet we appreciate that the lowly blueberry was “grown with care”.

So….I thought. Why not create a t-shirt for the children in the kindergarten that states on the front of the t-shirt “Grown With Care”. Yeah, why not? It would be perfect! Kyila, founder of Kiki’s Kids, and her staff spend a tremendous amount of time and energy caring for the young children in the program…yes, great idea!

If you do not know about Kyila’s program for her blind 3 – 5 year olds who receive an education and learn daily living skills to be ready to work on their academic education, then you need to get with the program! It is an unique program addressing the needs of this age group, 3 – 5 year olds, and on top of that, they are predominantly blind children with some sighted children also enrolled in the program.

The goal is to educate these children, yet to also educate the world about the abilities these blind children have to succeed to their future goals. Their perceived disability will not hold these children back thanks to the support received from the program they are in: Kiki’s Kids.

Get involved! Support Kiki’s Kids and with the help of Global Roots your donation can get to Kiki’s Kids too. Click here to know more about each program, and when clicking on Global Roots with a donation, please specify your dollars to go to Kiki’s Kids in Tibet.

Thank you!

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.

 

Pumchung and the Team

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Projects are successful only because the leader has the vision and determination to create and produce an idea that may also resonate with other individuals who become part of a then successful team. This is the case with Kyila and her 4 teachers and 4 house staff. They are committed to the goal where Kyila believes that “all children have the right to feel safe, cared for and treated as individuals whether they are blind or sighted, rich or poor…”.

Kyila had recognized Pumchung specifically in her latest newsletter. Pumchung was the first staff member at Kiki’s Kids. Since her start she has been learning computer skills, English, does plenty of management and runs the project with the other team members.

Kudos to the teachers and house staff! You are each very special people because I hope you realize, everyone cannot do the work you are doing each day with these young people! Thank you!

“Warm Greetings From Chilly Tibet!”…details about the children…

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The title of today’s post is a quote from Kyila, founder/director of Kiki’s Kids. She has sent her year-end, holiday newsletter which has plenty of information that I will share with you all in the next few blog posts. Tibet right now is with very sunny skies, a low of 15 degrees and a high of 54 degrees….per my weather app! So, I guess she is correct, Tibet is chilly right now!

During this past year, news from Kyila about the students:

Three Kiki’s Kids students have graduated to an advanced class. Two attend Braille Without Borders prep school in Lhasa. The third student is a 6 year old sighted boy who lost both of his parents during the earthquake in Yishu. He moved into grade 2 at the regular school next door, and he enjoys cooking so when he comes home he helps the cooks in Kiki’s Kids kitchen. (Just as an aside, I first met Kyila in Lhasa at the Center fro the Blind and was there a few days after the earthquake hit Yishu many hundreds of miles from Lhasa. While my friend and I traveled by train from Beijing to Lhasa, no railroad tracks were affected, but many people lost their lives in Yishu.)

New students: One boy is 6 years old, an only child, and had parents who did not know how to care for him. Since his parents rarely cooked for him he was afraid of hot food and drinks, so he is now slowly getting used to this new food experience. Another boy is 5 years old and became blind at age 2. He loves to play with others and is no longer bored as he was when home alone. Another boy: an exception was made to include him although he was not an orphan; he is sighted and 4 years old. His mother was overwhelmed in caring for him and his 7 year old sister who has cerebral palsy. He is reading and writing in three languages. One new girl joined Kiki’s Kids at age 2. She spends most of her time listening to music, and while she does not talk much, she does sing…and loves biscuits.

Please be reminded Kiki’s Kids is an inclusive Kindergarten for both blind and sighted children. The educational program provides the students with skills they probably never would have received and it helps bridge the gap between sighted and blind people in their world and ultimately in their future. Want to know more about Kiki’s Kids, continue to follow this blog. Also, check out Kiki’s Kids website. Want to donate to help Kyila with her children, the future productive young people they will become? Donate at Global Roots website and specify your donation to Kiki’s Kids.

“Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends”…another quote from Kyila’s newsletter.

Namaste.

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