writing to your child
Jhamtse Gatsal is in a remote location, where the mail system is unreliable, so we don't send mail to the school independently. Instead, letters are carried back and forth when visitors travel to the school. This also helps equalize among the children, so they all receive letters at approximately the same frequency.
Sponsors typically have the chance to write to their child twice a year. We’ll advise you by email before someone travels over who can carry letters. You can expect an annual update package with an update on your child written by his or her amala (house mother) or teacher, a letter from him/her, and new photos.
Children love seeing pictures of you. Include a photo of you, your family, and/or your daily life. Another great idea is to include drawings, either that you’ve done or by a child or grandchild. Tell them about your family, things you like to do, and what the world looks like where you live. These are subjects that translate easily across different environments and cultures, and to a younger age group. They also love to hear that you love them and that you’re proud of them.
When writing, remember English is not the children’s first language. Short and simple communications are most successful; amalas and older students help translate for them when they receive a letter, but mostly the children love looking at the letters on their own, folding and unfolding them and tucking them into their clothes and between books under their mattresses. Many of the smallest kids are still learning to write the alphabets of the three languages they study. Their native Monpa language has no written form.
You are welcome to include flat gifts for your child — though we ask that you keep gifts small and flat, to avoid making children feel left out whose sponsors are not as active in their communication. Gifts that can be shared with their friends are especially welcome. Always include your child’s full name and sponsorship ID number (pay attention to ‘A’ or ‘B’ if there is a letter after their name—Tibetan children often have the same name) to avoid confusion.
While we tend to prioritize birthdays in our society, in Monpa culture they customarily have little significance. Parents often don’t know the exact date of a child’s birth. More often than not, even years are estimated so we are unable to share birthdays and exact ages with sponsors.
Visits to the Community
Visits from sponsors have proven a highly meaningful experience for all involved. Please keep in mind your standing invitation to visit Jhamtse Gatsal. Our Volunteer Coordinator, email@example.com, can help you plan your visit, arrange special permits and transportation as well as hotel accommodations nearby.