I just got back from a five week trip to India where I volunteered at the Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community.  It was a truly amazing experience and helped me put my life in perspective and be thankful for the life I live and the opportunities these children are getting.

This is a wonderful community that could use your support and if you would like to learn more go to www.Jhamtseinternational.org.

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This is me with Sanjay Kumar, my very special friend and personal project at Jhamtse Gatsal.

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We were high up in the Himalayan Mountains in Northeastern India where the highest pass we went through was at 13,700 ft.  We were only a few miles from where India, Bhutan and Tibet (China) come together.

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“Jhamtse Gatsal” mean “Garden of Love and Compassion” and it is truly evident here.  There are currenly 82 orphanded and abandoned children living here along with the staff and teachers.

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Getting to and from this part of India is not easy and takes a long time The switchback roads were everywhere and very rough riding because the roads are in very poor condition in many places.  Land slides could block the only roads for several days but it was all part of the adventure.

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Many village families work on the road crews all year round breaking up rock and making gravel to support themselves.

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Pema, one of the girls at Jhamtse Gatsal, making gravel for a new building they are constructing.

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Venerable Lobsang Phuntsok, a Buddist monk, started this community 6 years ago to help  orphaned and abandoned children from the local villages escape the crushing poverty, poor sanitation and illiterate conditons they lived in and give them a chance at an education and survival so they could thrive in the World at large.

 

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The local villagers are very poor.

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The village children have little hope of escaping the fate of their families and many are orphaned or abandoned because their parents can’t take care of them.  Many also die young because of the lack of sanitation.

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The 82 children who live at Jhamtse Gatsal learn valuable vocational skills by helping out with all aspects of running the community, including construction, gardening, washing clothes, cooking and cleaning.

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They get a broad education and exposure to all parts of the World through the visitors and volunteer teachers from all over the World.

483-resized-600Interacting with visitors from around the World helps them better understand the rest of the World and it’s people and reinforce their language skills.

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They speak 4 languages, including English and their native Monpa, as well as have classes in sciences, social studies, math, dance, art, music and even the use of computers

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Clothing is provided through donations from individuals and from corporations (like these tennis shoes).

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They get three healthy meals a day and a snack in the afternoon.  Much of the food is grown organically in their own gardens.  The children are assigned kitchen helping and clean up duties on a rotating basis.

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Clothes are washed every day and the children help with all aspects of it.

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The children are eager to learn and here they are playing subtraction bingo during their free time.

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Many of the older children have lived here the entire six years and have formed close bonds.

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Maintaining the local customs is also an important part of their education and they learn the songs and dances of their heritage so they can be passed on to future generations.  They spend months practicing for important Buddhist festivals and are quite impressive.

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These are some of the sweetest, most polite and happiest children I have ever met

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They are truly the lucky ones from their part of the World!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  I am currently knitting 82 hats for the children this winter.  Contact me at accentondesign@yahoo.com if you would like to help.

If you can help keep Jhamtse Gatsal funded that is always appreciated too as there are many more children needing and wanting help but there is not enough money to accept them at this time. Any amount is appreciated. You can learn all about Jhamtse Gatsal at the websitewww.jhamjhamtseinternationsal.org

We all truly have a lot to be thankful for and it is very fulfilling to be able to help others.  Have a wonderful day,

Live, Love, Laugh,