Posted by Sharon Schendel on Nov 17, 2019
Philippe Lamoise sporting a hat that was a gift from Rotarians in India
 
Philippe Lamoise expanded the talk he gave at the recent District Foundation Seminar on the Gamru Village School, a project he’s been involved with for over 15 years.  Gamru Village School is located in Dharamsala in the Himachal Pradesh region of India.  The area gained fame for its monastery, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile from Tibet.  It’s also home to many Tibetan refugees, which brings attention to the region, but many donations go to support the refugees while few funds go to the locals. 
 
In 2003, Philippe volunteered his software engineering and video editing skills to Tibetan monks in Dharmsala, and while there he visited the Rotary Club of Dharamsala. In 2004, he returned to help locals learn computer skills as part of a project sponsored in conjunction with the Rotary Club La Mesa Sunrise.  During this trip, he visited a school for local children that was founded by Philip Adams.  Although school in India is free, the uniforms, book and transportation is not, and these additional costs represented an insurmountable barrier to education for many children in India. 
 
Through district grants Rotary helped fund resources for the school, including furniture, books and updated kitchen equipment (the school provides many children with their main daily meal). This support helps cover the $22,000 annual budget for the school, which has 9 teachers, two staff members and serves around 150 children.  The school recently started a nursery to help relieve female students of child care duties for their younger siblings that would otherwise keep them out of school.   The Gamru School is an example of how Rotarians like Philippe see needs on their travels and engage the power of Rotary to help fulfill those needs.