Jhamtse International Welcomes Executive Director Odessa Dwarika

OdessaUntil the present time, Jhamtse International has been able to function as an all-volunteer organization. However, we have come to the realization that, as an all-volunteer organization, we have reached the limit of our ability to further our mission to end suffering, spread happiness, and build a better world through the practice of the universal principles of love, compassion, and wisdom. We now look forward to being able to increase our impact with professional leadership.

The Board of Directors is excited to welcome Odessa Dwarika as the “face of Jhamtse International.” Odessa, who was selected out of more than 50 candidates, has 20 years of outstanding performance in non-profit leadership and fundraising in organizations dedicated to improving people’s lives. But it is Odessa’s personal qualities and life experience that give us confidence that she will guide the future of Jhamtse not only with skill and grace, but with love and compassion.

Odessa says, “After viewing Tashi and the Monk, I knew that I belonged with Jhamtse International. I look forward to walking on this journey with the many who have been inspired by Lobsang Phuntsoks’ healing vision and the amazing children that he serves.” 

As part of the interview process, Odessa was asked to respond to a number of questions. Her answers reveal much about who she is.

“The mission of Jhamtse Gatsal speaks to me because of my personal history of child sponsorship and volunteerism. The day I turned 15 and got my first job in food service was the day I sent away to sponsor a child through Children International. Her name was Kelly and she was three years old. Twenty-four years have passed since I first visited her. I have been back fifteen times. I’ve planned the ‘Quinceaneras’ for Kelly and her sister, made sure all three siblings graduated from high school, attended their weddings, and seen Kelly’s two children born.”

In speaking of her reaction to viewing “Tashi and the Monk,” Odessa said that the film “…is a testament to the healing power of community. In the case of the Venerable Lobsang Phuntsok, it also demonstrates the impact of service work to heal our own wounds. Throughout the movie the message is clear – when you contribute to the collective, that love and light is reflected back upon you. At the beginning of the movie, Tashi appears to be so traumatized as to be beyond reach. The culture of compassion and self-respect that is generated at Jhamtse Gatsal is embodied in the children and adults there, and it is this incredible culture and environment of compassion that provides the healing.”

Odessa clearly understands the value and importance of the sponsorship program, which provides the foundation for Jhamtse International’s support of operating expenses at Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community. She writes, “The sponsorship model is a very organic model for social change. It is the way we have helped each other for millennia. Before the institutions and the charity drives, humans simply expanded their notion of family to include others. They nursed the babies whose mothers were sick or had died, they cared for the elderly as they would their own parents, and many Native American communities protected and incorporated Africans escaping slavery. The mission of Jhamtse International means that we can continuously expand our notion of family until it reaches around the globe and leaves no one uncared for.”

The Board of Directors of Jhamtse International looks forward to Odessa Dwarika’s leadership with excitement and confidence.

Kickoff Parties!

photo of Jhamtse Gatsal kids

We want you to help us celebrate our campaign to help Lobsang say “Yes” to more children! Come and celebrate the amazing Children’s Community where traumatized children like Tashi Drolma of the award-winning film, “Tashi and the Monk,” are thriving.

The parties will feature a Skype call with Lobsang Phuntsok, the Founder and Director of Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community!

For more information, please RSVP below.

Kickoff Party in New York City
Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: near W 24th St. and 6th Ave. New York, NY 10011

Join us in New York!
Details will be emailed after sending an RSVP:

This event has passed. Thanks for all your support!

Kickoff Party in Concord, MA
Date: Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: First Parish, 20 Lexington Rd., Concord, MA 01742

Join us in Concord!
Details will be emailed after sending an RSVP:

This event has passed. Thanks for all your support!

Kickoff Party in Alexandria, Virginia
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Time: 5:00pm-6:30pm
Location: near E Maple St. and Little St., Alexandria, VA

Join us in Alexandria!
Details will be emailed after sending an RSVP:

This event has passed. Thanks for all your support!

Kickoff Party in West Hollywood, California
Date: Sunday, October 16, 2016
Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm
Location: near Fountain Ave. and N Orange Grove Ave., West Hollywood

Join us in West Hollywood!
Details will be emailed after sending an RSVP:

This event has passed. Thanks for all your support!

Kickoff Party in San Francisco, California
Date: Sunday, October 16, 2016
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm
Location: near Lombard St. and Sansome St., San Francisco

Join us in San Francisco!
Details will be emailed after sending an RSVP:

This event has passed. Thanks for all your support!
Learn more about the Capital Campaign for Jhamtse Gatsal.
See these events, and everything else happening with Jhamtse International, on our calendar.

See you there!

Help Lobsang say “Yes!” to more children!


“I’m sorry, but I can’t help your child,” – Lobsang Phuntsok

Imagine having to say this repeatedly to desperate families, knowing that their children’s lives are so challenging that even surviving to adulthood will be a struggle.

Jhamtse Gatsal houses and cares for 85 children. Lobsang has had to turn away hundreds of children in great need because there is no more room.

Your donation to our Capital Fund will help provide housing for more children at the Jhamtse Gatsal campus in the remote Himalayan foothills of northeast India. When complete, we will have facilities for 150 children, plus staff, volunteers and visitors.

During Phase 1 of our campaign to help Lobsang say “Yes!” to more children, we will:

  • Prepare construction documents
  • Level the ridge-top site
  • Construct earthquake-resistant retaining walls
  • Build homes for 4 “families” of 25 children and their housemothers

We are more than halfway to our goal. Please help us save more children!


donate to Jhamtse Gatsal Children's Community - Capital Campaign

Donate via PayPal, or by check to Jhamtse International, 25 Duggan Rd., Acton, MA 01720
Donations from the US are tax deductible.

For tax-deductible donations in Switzerland, Australia, Canada or India, please see the Donate page on the Jhamtse Gatsal website.

For more info, see the Jhamtse Capital Campaign page.

Follow our progress here, or on the Jhamtse Gatsal Facebook page.

Jhamtse International is looking for an Executive Director

Spinning Prayer Wheels

Jhamtse International is, for the first time, seeking an Executive Director. This represents an exciting stage in capacity-building for Jhamtse International. While most of the work of the organization will continue to be done by volunteers, a full-time professional Executive Director will enable us to more effectively use the talents of our volunteers to carry out the vision of Jhamtse International.

The Executive Director of Jhamtse International will play a pivotal role in strategic planning for and implementation of our mission, especially in support of our primary outreach project, Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community. He or she will be responsible for development of program and budget, and for fundraising and communications. The Executive Director will direct and supervise Jhamtse International’s primarily volunteer staff, and will report to the Board of Directors.

If you are interested in knowing more about this position, find the application and details on our Work For Us page.

Applications will be received until September 30, 2016.

“Tashi and the Monk” is the gift that keeps on giving


I thought you might like to know that the film was shown on TV in India yesterday. We have already received two requests from people in India who want to be sponsors. Sponsors in India can contribute directly to Jhamtse Gatsal, but are assigned children by Grace Blydenburgh in the US.

Our sponsors are so amazing. One sponsor, who began last year is Tibetan, and was a sponsored child himself. Thupten wrote:

“I am 22 year old guy who got a job in Dubai after completing my college. I had a poor school life too because I was in government Tibetan hostel, I was also being sponsored so I would like to contribute my life for someone as someone did for me.”

Thupten has plans to visit Jhamtse Gatsal this month with his girlfriend who is in nursing school. He writes that he had a very difficult life, himself, in a school that was very poor. I am sure he will be embraced in the love and joy of Jhamtse Gatsal, and rejoice to see the full, healthy and happy lives our children have. Thupten is organizing a campaign to provide clothing for our children, and he is very excited that he has the chance to give back in this way.

Tashi Drolma and the Dentist

The magic of Jhamtse Gatsal, the Garden of Love and Compassion, is transforming the Tashi of “Tashi and the Monk,” into an affectionate, playful, responsive and responsible member of the Jhamtse family.

Tashi and friends bonded quickly with Dr. Frank Repanich, a dentist from Bellingham, Washington, and his dental hygienist, Carmen Witte, during the two weeks in June that they spent at Jhamtse Gatsal providing care for the children and staff. Tashi had recently lost her two front baby teeth, and alternately hid the gaping hole in her mouth, or smiled broadly.

Some of the children had never had their teeth cleaned. Some had suffered with toothaches for a long time. Dental care plans were made for everyone, teeth were cleaned, and 85 exams were performed. On the first day, 11 extractions were done.


Tashi hopes Dr. Frank and Carmen Madam will plan to visit Jhamtse Gatsal again soon!

Oldest Students’ Amazing Achievement


The oldest class of 15 students worked hard with their teachers to prepare for the first Government Exams to be taken by Jhamtse Gatsal students—a test not only for the students but for the entire philosophy and school program of Jhamtse Gatsal. Could extremely disadvantaged children perform well in standardized tests when their education was based not on the memorization of facts that is still typical in Indian schools, but on nurturing loving and compassionate problem-solvers, skilled in tasks of daily living in challenging rural Himalayan conditions?

In the first extrinsic evaluation of Lobsang’s bold experiment, of the 20 students who passed the exam, out of a total of 140 who took it, 14 were from Jhamtse Gatsal. The top 10 scores were attained by students from the Garden of Love and Compassion.

Gift of a Truck

Jhamtse Gatsal Community members gather to see the new donated truck.

We have just learned that an anonymous donor in Switzerland has contributed $33,000 to Jhamtse Gatsal. This is just the amount needed to purchase a large cargo truck that has been needed for some time. Jhamtse Gatsal is very remote, and often bulk foods, consumable goods, supplies and building materials are unavailable or of poor quality. The local cost is from two to five times as much as good quality items purchased in the plains, about an 18 hour drive away, across a Himalayan pass that is nearly 14,000 feet high. By having their own truck, Jhamtse Gatsal can assure the quality of what is purchased, and obtain what is needed when it is needed. The entire community is looking forward to the arrival of the new truck.

Jhamtse Gatsal Receives Corpus (Endowment) Fund

Lobsang Phuntsok, Founder and Director of Jhamtse Gatsal. Founder and Spiritual Director of Jhamtse International

Jhamtse Gatsal has just received the first installment (one-half) of a Corpus Fund awarded by the government of Arunachal Pradesh, the state where the community is located. The total amount of the award is 10,000,000 Indian Rupees (equal to $165,378 on the date of the award), which will become available to Jhamtse Gatsal in two installments this year. The income from this endowment can be used very flexibly, for both capital needs and operating expenses, including salaries.

Jhamtse International congratulates Gen Lobsang on this award, which gives a good foundation for the long-term support of Jhamtse Gatsal. Jhamtse International and other supporting organizations are also working toward development of a strong endowment for Jhamtse Gatsal.

Jhamtse Gatsal Now Registered Non-Profit in India

Welcome to Jhamtse Gatsal

Jhamtse Gatsal has finally been granted registration as a non-profit organization in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Chief Secretary Planning, Ramesh Negi, was instrumental in facilitating the registration. This formal recognition of Jhamtse Gatsal enables the community to receive grants from the Government of India. It also enables Gen Lobsang to begin the process of obtaining a tax exemption certificate which will allow Jhamtse Gatsal to offer tax-deductible receipts to Indian contributors.