Sandy Wood, a 2004 graduate of Oak Meadow and recent graduate of Vassar College, visited Middle School humanities classes on Tuesday, September 17, to share her experiences at Jhamtse Gatsal in Arunachal Predesh, Tawang district in northeastern India. Similar to Oak Meadow, Jhamtse Gatsal has students aged five through eighth grade.
The school, a realization of a vision of The Venerable Lobsang, a Buddhist monk with close ties to several Oak Meadow families, is home to 85 students from poverty-stricken villages in northeast India. Lobsang personally visits the villages and offers a place in the school to children who are experiencing the greatest hardship.
As part of their community service and outreach efforts, Oak Meadow Middle School students sponsor Kangyur Sangpo, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Jhamtse Gatsal. Their donation, funded by profits from their school businesses, helps cover the $1200 a year cost for Kangyur to attend the school, including food, clothing, materials for the school, and other operating expenses.
Following her May graduation from college, Wood accepted a position to teach English at Jhamtse Gatsal and will begin in January 2014. When asked how she decided to make the move to India, Wood explained that she fell in love with the children during her visits over the years. She realized that her skills and passions could be best put to use in the school. At Jhamtse Gatsal, she feels a strong sense of community, focused on love and compassion; just the kind of place in which she feels she could grow and learn from her community. We wish her all the best as she begins her journey back to India.