KiKi Founder Kyila’s Story
First Kindergarten For Blind Children In Tibet
“Empower the blind before they become disabled”
I was born in 1984 near Mount Everest in the small city called Lhatsa. In my family there are six people – my parents, two brothers my older sister and I. My life was very difficult until I was twelve years old because my two brothers, my father and I are blind. My mother had to take care of us all. Being blind in Tibet is really difficult because people think of blindness is a punishment for doing something wrong in a past life. We could never go out and play with other children. My parents wanted to do everything for us and would not let us do things for ourselves. I sometimes felt that we were not only blind but also physically handicapped. It was not only the four of us who faced these challenges but most of the blind people in Tibet.
When I was 12 I went to school at Braille Without Borders, the first blind school in Tibet, China in the largest city in Tibet called Lhasa. At that time I did not know how to dress or wash myself. I only spoke my mother tongue which is Tibetan and had no previous education. On my first day at school I was a bit nervous and very excited. I met lots of students who were also blind. It felt as though I was in heaven, to be amongst children my own age who had had the same experiences as me.
I had always believed that I was totally different from sighted people. Fortunately this is not true. Although I am blind, I am not stupid and can do everything that sighted people can do. This was a revelation to me; I was seeing a new world. I felt free and full of energy.
The first things I learnt were how to dress myself, how to make my own bed, how to eat by myself and how to wash myself. After that I learned Chinese, English, computer and orientation skills and Braille. Braille is the way in which blind people can read and write. In the first three years I learned all these things. In the next three years I trained as a professional masseuse. I learned Chinese massage, acupuncture and physiotherapy. When I finished school I set up a small physiotherapy clinic of my own, with one of my blind friends.
I am sure I have great future full of excitement ahead of me, including realising my dream of an integrated kindergarten.