I started attending Ven. Lobsang's lectures in 2000 and was inspired by his stories about growing up and attending a monastery in India. He was clearly figuring out how to be in the US, bringing the dharma to people, affiliated and not affiliated with Buddhism, to help them lead happier lives, while bringing about positive change in the lives of desperately disadvantaged children in India. Jhamtse International was born from this vision. One of the wonderful things about JI is that it's volunteer-run, and the administrative costs are low to non-existent -- donations directly benefit those in need, and even small donations have a huge impact. It's inspiring to hear how a small amount of money has radically transformed the lives of children who had no hope to rise out of a life of poverty. And the kids at Jhamtse Gatsal are not only as bright as their peers anywhere, but they are learning and living the lessons of the power of love and compassion directly. It's an amazing organization doing much good in the world.
Jhamtse International programs significantly improve the lives of thousands around the globe. The best example is the Jhamtse Gatsal children's community in northeastern India. Jhamtse Gatsal, which means garden of love in Tibetan, is currently home to 74 children who come from the surrounding remote Himalayan villages where poverty, lack of healthcare, education and opportunities are extreme. These children often have no parents and have to either work in the fields or stay home to take care of siblings. Education is not an option because getting food on the table trumps all. I've seen firsthand how these children are transformed into happy and healthy kids within a few days of arriving at Jhamtse Gatsal. The house-mothers (Ama-la's), teachers and staff provide a loving family environment for these children to live and learn. Love and compassion run rampant at Jhamtse Gatsal and it's breathtaking to see what happens to the children and adults who live in that environment. I spent 10-days at Jhamtse Gatsal in the summer of 2008. I have never felt and seen so much caring and happiness from so many as I did on those magical days in August. These 74 children now have an opportunity to break the cycle of extreme poverty by learning skills they can use to transform their home villages and communities. Jhamtse Gatsal has also started community outreach programs to provide needed services to the surrounding villages. Although only 4-years old Jhamtse Gatsal has made a significant impact on the lives of the children, staff and surrounding villages of this remote mountain region.