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  • in chennai, when the 2005 tsunami hit, organizations swooped in to help the fishermen. further inland the dalit community, those once considered "untouchable", those whose jobs were helping the fishermen, also lost everything. agencies tried to move these families to other villages, putting them in competition with other dalit communities over already-scarce jobs. this is just one example of how caste oppression continues in this coastal area. untouchable. unseeable. fighting over scraps.

    at this moment our friends decided to help their community themselves. they decided to create a home for children of these families. children of the tsunami. children orphaned or with families who could not support them. alcoholic parent. drug-addicted parent. abusive parent, hopeless and traumatized.

    our friends started a hostel for 50 kids directly affected by the tsunami. they wanted to create for them the home they had never had when they were growing up. an opportunity to be safe. well-fed. well-clothed. supported in their education. trained in buddhist ethics. challenged to excel. a place of love. sakya hostels, in a village near chennai.

    sakya continues to thrive, thanks to the dedication, commitment, resourcefulness, and passion of jagan and nancy, who have headed up this project since its beginnings. they were married last year and took a few days off. it was their first break in seven years of continuous day-to-day dedication to the children in their care.

    when i asked them what they love most about this project, sakya hostels, they told me, "this is not a project. this is our dream world."
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