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Tibetan Woman Connects Blind with Those in Sight / by Jiao Meng, December 14, 2012 Adjust font size:

 Kids in Kiki's Kindergarten play outdoors in Shigatse, in northwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. [Xinhua]

A blind Tibetan woman founded the first integrated kindergarten for blind and non-blind students in Tibet.

28-year-old Kyila was born in a small city near Mount Everest. Four members in her family, including her, were born blind.


"Until 12 years old, I could just sit at home and do nothing basically, "Kyila said. "Being blind in Tibet is really difficult. People think that blindness means you did something wrong in your past life."

She believes this prejudice is not due to the Tibetan religious beliefs, but rather people's misconceptions about blindness.

Her fate totally changed when she went to the first school for blind kids established by Braille Without Borders (BWB), an NGO devoted which offers free education to the blind in Tibet.

She then realized that she could do more. "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," she wrote in her blog.

From basic living skills such as washing and dressing herself, to learning languages and professional skills such as Chinese massage, acupuncture and physiotherapy, Kylia has never stopped learning.

However, not every blind kid in Tibet has such opportunity. The visually impaired rate is higher in high-altitude areas. Besides, Kindergartens in rural areas, if at all available, are too expensive for the average child.

She dreamed to open a kindergarten for blind children to "empower them before they become disabled", offering them chances to fight with their own destiny.

"In the kindergarten, they will get best education and a happy childhood," she said.

Then, receiving scholarships, she went on to study English and take management classes and NGO operating skills in Holland, US, India and Canada.

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