“On a remote mountaintop a brave social experiment is taking place.
“Buddhist Monk Lobsang was trained under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama but 8 years ago he left behind a life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to create a unique community in the foothills of the Himalayas which rescues orphaned and neglected children.
“5 year-old Tashi is the newest arrival. Her mother recently passed away and she’s been abandoned by her alcoholic father. Wild and troubled, Tashi is struggling to find her place amongst 84 new siblings. Gradually, as Lobsang and the community work their magic, we witness her transformation from alienation and tantrums into someone capable of making her first real friend. Lobsang has channeled his own unhappy childhood into an opportunity for other ‘uninvited guests of the universe’ to avoid a similar fate.
“The atmosphere of warmth and support at Jhamtse Gatsal provides a backdrop to the unfolding stories. Full of children who elsewhere might be classified as ‘at risk’ after experiencing often unimaginable trauma in their short lives, this is the kind of institution that in the West would be staffed by psychologists and social workers relying on an arsenal of medication to keep their charges under control. Here the staff have no formal training and children are simply invited to become active members of a community and participants in their own and each other’s healing. The results are remarkable.
“In a region where the only prospects are a life in the fields or breaking rocks beside the road, the lucky few at Jhamtse are given a shot at something much greater – the chance to become, in Lobsang’s words, “amazing human beings.”