Tibetan monk rescues German teenager from the streets of Cardiff
By Emma Sisk, Wales Online | Mar 23, 2014
A teenage runaway from Germany has been rescued from the streets of Cardiff and reunited with his family thanks to the kindness of a Tibetan monk.
Buddhist Lama Lobsang took Tilo Yaye, 18, into his home in Canton after he spotted him sleeping rough outside Cardiff Market two months ago.
The teenager had made his way to Cardiff from Lüneburg, flying to the UK with all his possessions in a rucksack which he lost on the way.
With no money, clothes, food or passport, Tilo resorted to eating rubbish from city bins and scouring for scraps of food that had been dropped on the street.
Lama Lobsang said: “I saw this boy and I knew he was hard up on life. As a monk, I support people who experience difficult circumstances.
“I saw him near the market eating rubbish. It was very sad because he is only young. He had no good clothes.
“I took him some food. We were eating and having a cup of tea. Then I said to him, ‘come to my home’. I helped him buy clothes from charity shops, T-shirts, shoes, everything. He had nothing. Everything he had was lost.
“I gave him food and a place to sleep. He is a good boy but I knew if I left him outside the market he would end up in trouble with drugs or the police. That’s why I invited him to my home.”
Lama Lobsang said he asked Tilo if he wanted him to contact his family.
He said: “I spoke to his father. I told him that Tilo has a good life now and his father was so happy to hear that. But I told Tilo he must go back because it’s better for him. His life is there.”
Lama Lobsang lives off donations and for the past two months has fed, clothed and provided a home for Tilo, who has mental health problems.
He has also paid £250 for flights for the teenager to return to his family on April 1 and £50 to order him a new passport, which has now arrived.
Tilo’s mother Christine Schueler said she was relieved to finally hear her son was safe.
She said: “One day he just ran away. He didn’t tell anybody. I was so relieved when I got a call from Lama Lobsang because he picked up Tilo.
“I couldn’t believe he was travelling to the UK. I thought, ‘how did he get there?’ We were all really worried and are really grateful to Lama Lobsang for taking care of Tilo so much.”
Tilo is not the first person Lama has helped off the streets. He offers refuge at his flat to people he meets who are experiencing marriage problems and family fall-outs.
He knows first-hand what it is like to run away and have nothing. In 2006 he fled his home because of Chinese persecution.
“The Chinese communist government who occupy Tibet were not very kind to Buddhist monks. Monasteries across Tibet were being destroyed,” he recalled.
“I have been imprisoned and tortured. I was forced to leave the Chinese repression.”
Lama came to Cardiff seven years ago from Lhasa, Tibet, where he had joined a monastery when he was just 15 years old.
Now the 40-year-old lives a simple life, conducting religious ceremonies and teaching Buddhist philosophy to his students.
“I pray and I help people with these types of problems. That’s my life. Caring for each other is our life,” he said.