SEATTLE — Very few people get to meet the Dalai Lama each year, let alone have a 90 minute conversation with him. Through the Compassion 2020 program, six high school students from Washington were given this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Kaya Sol, A 10th grader at Washington Virtual Academies, was chosen as one of the delegates who traveled to Dharamsala, India in Nov. of 2019.
Students on the trip, sponsored by Washington State Attorney General, were able to see the impacts of charitable work by religious groups. They visited a residential school for refugees and orphans; and a vocational home for refugees with disabilities.
"Before this trip I figured compassion was just being nice, but afterwords I realized it's different than that," Sol said. "It's treating humans with the dignity they deserve."
Each student is now working to implement their own "Compassion Project" in their community, which was blessed by the Dalai Lama during their meeting.
Sol is working on starting an organization that provide pillowcases which turn into drawstring bags to children in the foster system.
"Through my experiences as a foster child I learned that a lot of foster youth have to use trash bags to hold their personal belongings because social workers don't have bags available when they move," Sol said. "I want to resolve this issue and make it a little easier."
People can start helping by saving extra fabrics or donating them to Sol, who hopes to start making the pillowcases by hand. She's also hoping to partner with local stores to collect extra fabric for the cause.
People who are interested in helping with the project can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org