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    www.BhutanNuns.org Issue 2 March 2011

    BNF Newsletter

    Bhutan Nuns Foundation

    In December 2010, Bhutan Nuns Foundation was finally able to officially acquire the land in Tsalu Maphey, on the outskirts of Thimphu, to build a training centre for the nuns. Subsequently, we were able to widen and extend the existing farm road leading to this property. As we write this, the road is in the process of being resurfaced and the plan of the training centre is in progress. The main goal for this training centre is to provide nuns with a common, unifying space to strengthen bonds, share ideas and encourage each other. This space will also be used to train nuns and volunteers to become leaders so that they can go back to their nunneries and train the other nuns. We plan on training nuns to be leaders in management, the preservation of sacred art, health and hygiene, nutritional practices,

    first aid and hospice care, and the cultivation of organic vegetables for self sufficiency. These nuns will lead the natural disaster response team for their nunneries. Nuns from all over Bhutan will have a safe place to go when they need advice and help.

    Our new training center will provide office space for the Bhutan Nuns Foundation so that we have a permanent place where we can work and organize our activities, as well as a library and classrooms. It will not only benefit nuns, but will also serve the needs of Bhutanese women from all walks of life by providing a space for them to participate in rejuvenating and spiritual activities.

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    Highlights from 2010 Activities

    Current living quarters of the nuns in Shedrup Choling Nunnery

    KitchenShedrup Choling Nunnery

    Nuns in Penjor Choling Nunnery

    Bhutan Nuns Foundation is happy to assist Shedrup Choling nunnery in refurbishing their living quarters and help them in improving their basic living standards. The BNFs goal is to make this nunnery a model which has all the basic facilities that are required for a healthy and positive learning environment. We hope that this model can then be replicated in other parts of the country.

    BNF is also assisting Penjor Choling Nunnery in Dorangthang in building toilets, bathrooms and a kitchen. This will improve the nuns living condition immensely. BNF is pleased to say that the nuns of Penjor Choling have also become environmentally conscious and have instituted a weekly cleaning routine to maintain hygienic surroundings. According to Ani Choden, the senior nun, After the Bumthang workshop last year, I use my shopping bag given by BNF at all times to avoid using plastic bags.

    These are the results of the workshop that the BNF collaborated with Pema Choling nunnery of Bumthang which highlighted issues on these three major areas:

    Health, hygiene and nutrition Environment Spirituality

    BNF has progressed immensely in networking with Government, NGO, and Private agencies both within and outside Bhutan to work collaboratively.

    Exterior of the current kitchen in Kila Goenpa.

    Interior of the current kitchen in Kila Goenpa.

    Bhutan Nuns Foundation is providing two nuns with partial scholarship to complete their studies in Dharamsala so that they can contribute positively to their nunneries upon their return.We were also able to find a donor for Kila Goenpa Nunnery in Paro to upgrade their kitchen into a smokeless and a spacious place.

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    Plans for the year 20111. BNF will continue to organize trainings and workshops in the following areas:

    Nutrition, health & hygiene Life skills education training Management & leadership Research & publications Recruit nun teacher for the nunneries Basic entrepreneurial skills

    BNF plans to rotate the venue for these trainings and workshops so that the nuns have the opportunity to visit other nunneries. That way they can strengthen relationships and learn from each other. Being aware that many small nunneries do not have the capacity to host such trainings and workshops, we have decided to pitch tents wherever it is necessary. We believe that material inconvenience is not an obstacle.

    2. The BNF training centre in Tshalu Maphey is in the planning stage and we hope to start the constructions soon. The training centre will be a multi-purpose facility and will have four major components: (1) Academic Section, (2) Retreat Centre, (3) Training facilities, and (4) Dormitory facilities.

    We plan to build the training centre that will merge and harmonize with the surroundings. We intend to use eco friendly materials and minimize the negative impact on the environment. We also want to plant local fruit trees that will beautify the place, provide fruits and also save our local endangered species.

    3. BNF is preparing to organize its first conference. We plan on conducting this conference in July. We hope to make this into an annual National/International conference. During this conference, BNF will bring Nuns from different nunneries and will aim at discussing Buddhism and non violence, empowerment of women and girls through education and enhancing their living standard by discussing issues like health and hygiene and nutrition. This year the conference will be held in Paro. Once the details have been finalized, we will update the information on our web site.

    4. BNF will continue to render assistance to upgrade the basic living conditions of the nuns by continuing to provide support to build bathrooms, toilets, kitchen, living quarters, library, etc., to the nunneries based on their immediate needs and conditions. BNF believes and supports the idea that providing the basic necessities is a human right and that no one should be left aside.

    5. We will continue to carry fund-raising activities both within and out of the country.

    6. To set up an essential oil project using winter greens and rhododendrons on a pilot basis.

    7. To provide teaching and learning materials to the neediest nunneries.

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    PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON MOTHER EARTH

    Taking pride in their canvas shopping bags distributed by Bhutan Nuns Foundation to discourage the use of plastic bags in order to avoid creating trash.

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    THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE BNF DOES:BNF recruits and helps young innovative women become aware of their potential and join Asian University for Women (AUW) located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, which provides a world-class education in liberal arts and social sciences to promising young women from diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds from across South and South East Asia and the Middle East. Please check their website for more information. www.asian-university.org.

    BNF organizes annual cleaning campaign around holy places to raise awareness and maintain the beauty of our environment. This also enables us to respect the holy places. By doing this we hope to instill values that will go a long way in caring and protecting the environment.

    We also make a special effort to reintroduce the traditional way of being environmentally friendly; using the phob (wooden cup) and tora (a piece of squares shaped cloth) especially within the nunnery institutions. We hope that the nuns can be the leading agents in this arena by being role models. These practices will drastically cut down the use of paper plates and plastic cups used especially during large gatherings and functions.

    BNF also organizes first aid training so that nuns living in far off places are able to tend to one another for minor problems or during emergencies. They can also help the community they live in. This will enable nuns to become socially active members rather than passive receivers.The photo above was taken during one such training session.

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    These activities would not be possible without the generous support from our donors. To name a few:

    Donor Acknowledgement

    FoundationsBerkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Global Fund for Women (GFW), Elysium Foundation, Humanity in Unity, Inc., Samuel Huntington Public Service Award Foundation, The Ken and Judith Joy Family Foundation and The William H. Hinman Foundation UNFPA

    Individual donorsAlice Read (US)Ann F. Ellery (US)Ariane Krumholz & Robert E. Sempson (US)Aum Dechen Jambyang (Bhutan)Beck Balkin (US)Barbara Adler (Denmark)Barbara Bonner (US)Bensinger, Tyler & Saran (US)B. Jill Geiger (US)Charles Bellinger (US)Chukie Om Dorji (Gangtey Palace Tours)Dan Mead and Sally Eagle (US)Deborah Schneider (US)Diana Myers (US)Doris Drake (US)Dr. Tandin Dorji (Bhutan)Emily Lewis (US)Fiora Houghteling (US)Francis Dixon (US)Hung-Yeh Peisinge (Halifax)Jennifer Huntington (US)Jennifer Joy (US)Johnnie C. Chace (US)John F. Coburn (US) John & Nancy Rogers (US) Jonathan & Kerry Secrest (US) J.D. Construction (Bhutan)Karen C. Lang (US) Kristin Bresnan (US)Lee Warren (US)Lesley Ann Patten(US)Lesley Pollitt (US)

    Linda Bower (US)Mark & Sarah McKusick (US)Marily Mearns (Canada)Mary Sloane (US) Mary Riddle (US/Canada)Mattie Godzala (US)Nan Niederlander (US)Nancy Smith (US)Nicholas Avery (US) Rev. Nakashima (Japan)Peggy Wang (Japan)Pam Caldwell (US)Patricia A Connelly (US)Penny T. Gill (US)Renate Ogilvie (Australia)Richard L. Shumway (US)Rosemary Wilson (US)Sarah Nicholson (US)Stuart Llyod (Australia)Susan Williams (Halifax)Thomas & Johanna Robinson (US)Tae Namba (AMDA) (Japan)Victoria J. Boulay (US)Vicky Singer (US)

    Thank You to all the Bhutanese Volunteers:Aum Chime WangmoLate Aum. Dema Ms. JitsunMs. Dechen WangmoTashi L Wangchuk Aum Karma (Norling)Mr. Aum PedayMr. Tashi Wangchuk (DLI) Mr. Peter Schmid Mr. Dorji (VAST)Aza Kama Wangdi (VAST)

    Funded by

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