Dayamudra Dennehy, Lokuttara Communicative English Institute, Kerala, India

Dayamudra Dennehy

Dayamudra is an English instructor in San Francisco who spends a month of every year teaching communicative English to village youth in Kerala, South India. Dayamudra believes education is a powerful tool of social justice and can inspire a new generation of leaders and improve the quality of life for an entire community. As an educator and a Buddhist, her teaching practice is grounded in the commitment to end all suffering and live with compassion.

For the past five years, Dayamudra has visited India to lead workshops in communicative English for youth in the “Dalit” community, an “untouchable” caste that has faced centuries of oppression and violence. The workshops are part of an effort to create the Lokuttara Communicative English Institute, which will provide local students with a respectful place to study, take English classes, and train as tutors and teachers. Inspired by her volunteer work, Dayamudra created Jai Bhim International, a non-profit that organizes annual retreats and English workshops in Kerala to support young leaders and encourage them to run their own local programs throughout the year.

“Education is how a young person finds her or his voice,” Dayamudra says. “Dalits still face violence, sexual abuse, discrimination and systematic oppression. But there are young leaders who understand education to be a vehicle for personal change and social justice.”