Although blindness can turn basic household tasks into overwhelming obstacles, learning to overcome these challenges increases a student’s self-esteem and self-reliance. The boarding house at the Peace Center for the Blind provides women with a learning laboratory in which they can develop a wide variety of domestic skills through hands-on experience. By showing one of the women how to make a meal, or teaching a young girl how to style her hair, women at the boarding house help create a continual learning environment that extends beyond the classroom or vocational training center.
The boarding house is maintained by the students, each of whom learns the necessary tasks to care for a functional living space. Older residents mentor the younger ones and instill in them good habits of self-grooming, dressing, cooking, and cleaning. According to Ms. Lydia, success “doesn’t all come at the same time,” but the women are remarkably patient teachers. They often use their own stories of “learning the hard way” to encourage the younger residents to work through their daily struggles.