When classroom study is bought to life through real stories, engagement soars and learning seems effortless. In Term 1, Year 10 Geography studies were centred on wellbeing and development. This included watching a documentary, Tashi and the Monk, about a school for children at risk in northern India. The School, Jhamtse Gatsal, was set up by Buddhist Monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, and means ‘Garden of Love and Compassion’. It aims to create a safe, loving and nurturing environment for children who have experienced trauma so they may heal and grow healthy in body, mind and spirit.
The girls were touched by the story of the feisty young girl, Tashi, and were inspired to connect with her and other students from the School. This began with letter writing, taking photos of our School and sharing their personal stories of being a teenage girl in Brisbane. This initiative to connect was met with warmth from Director of Jhamtse Australia, Mr Bruce Whyatt.
Girls had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Whyatt as a guest speaker to talk about his experiences working with Jhamtse Gatsal. Inspired by the story of Tashi and the Monk, Mr Whyatt and his wife created Jhamtse Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the School through outreach work and fundraising.
Mr Whyatt was able to share updates on Tashi’s wellbeing. Tashi is now responsible for younger students in a ‘big sister’ role, demonstrating the effectiveness of the School’s culture in creating positive transformation. Perhaps one of the most powerful stories was about students who have graduated from the School, gone to university and are now returning to support the School, their villages and the broader community.
Ms Megan Cossar