Frequently Asked Questions

What is Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community, and where is it located?

Jhamtse Gatsal is a children’s community which provides a home and education for at-risk children from toddler to adolescent in the district of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is situated in the Himalayan Mountains close to the borders of Tibet and Bhutan. Learn more about us. Learn more about our location.

What is the meaning of “Jhamtse Gatsal?”

Jhamtse Gatsal (jhaam’-tsay gah’-tsal) is a Tibetan term: Jhamtse, means “love and compassion”, and Gatsal, means “garden.” So, Jhamtse Gatsal is a “garden of love and compassion” for children.

Why is it called a “children’s community?”

Although some of our children at Jhamtse Gatsal are orphans, we choose to not focus on this fact, instead we choose to focus on each child’s unique strengths. We don’t consider ourselves an “orphanage.” We chose the title “Children’s Community” to acknowledges the power and responsibility of the children as well as the staff in building this community that has love and compassion for every member.

When and how was Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community founded?

It was the dream of Buddhist monk Lobsang Phuntsok. The community opened its doors in Summer of 2006 with 34 children, three teachers, two housemothers, and three support staff. Learn more about our history.

Where do Jhamtse Gatsal’s children come from and how are they selected?

Most of the children are Monpa, an ethnic group related to Tibetans, residing in a region that straddles the Indo-Tibetan border. As finances allow, it is our wish to select a new class of approximately 15 students each year by visiting and interviewing destitute families in the surrounding villages. First preference is given to orphaned or abandoned children. Learn more about the children before and after coming to Jhamtse Gatsal. Children of any age who are at risk of abandonment are admitted on a case-by-case basis.

Do the children pay to attend Jhamtse Gatsal?

The education, care and everything our children receive at our community are provided at no cost to them, their family or village. Everything we do at Jhamtse Gatsal is made possible through generous donations and the kind support of individuals who get involved.

What does it cost to send a child to Jhamtse Gatsal?

There is no charge for families to send their children to Jhamtse Gatsal. The annual cost of providing a loving home and good education for each child is approximately Rs. 1,00,000. This cost is met through child sponsorships ranging from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1,00,000, and through general fundraising.

Can I sponsor a child at Jhamtse Gatsal?

We welcome sponsors, and work enthusiastically to help foster strong personal relationships between children and their sponsors. Learn how you can sponsor a child.

Can I visit Jhamtse Gatsal?

Jhamtse Gatsal welcomes visitors by prior arrangement. Please contact us to make arrangements.

Can I volunteer at Jhamtse Gatsal?

Jhamtse Gatsal welcomes volunteers for varying lengths of time, to meet diverse community needs. Dedicated volunteers who would like to share their talents and skills benefit from engaging as active members of this unique community. We depend on volunteers to supplement our teaching staff. Learn about our past volunteers, what our current volunteer needs are and how you can become a volunteer!

What type of education do the children receive?

The primary educational goal of Jhamtse Gatsal is to nurture loving, compassionate human beings, who will be prepared with 21st century skills to become contributing members of society, in the villages of Arunachal Pradesh and in the wider world. We aim to prepare all students to pass Indian national exams and to equip them with relevant life skills. Learn more about the education we provide.

How many grades are there and what are the future plans for the school?

As of 2015, the school supports grades K-10. Jhamtse Gatsal plans to create a full pre-college program of grades K-12, as well as an experiential education program that provides students with practical and vocational skills.

Do all the children live at Jhamtse Gatsal?

Yes. Jhamtse Gatsal is a residential school. The children currently all live in “family houses,” where groups of approximately 20 children are nurtured and cared for by an Ama la (house-mother). Learn more about the families. Learn about our family housing needs.

How “green” is the school?

Jhamtse Gatsal’s remoteness necessitates self-sufficiency. Jhamtse Gatsal is situated in an area poorly served by basic utilities such as clean water and electricity. The community is seeking to be energy independent. Our short-term goals include developing our own water purification system that will not require burning wood, growing a major portion of the produce we consume in our organic gardens, and developing a waste management program that can be an example to the region. Learn more about our sustainable living practices.


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