Introduction and Welcome
In my present function as chairman of the board of the Dutch Foundation for Ladakhi Nuns (DFLN), I present to you this first edition of our newsletter. The board would like to share news of the past two years - from the creation of our non-profit organization established for the purpose of projects and initiatives of the Ladakh Nuns Association (LNA) as possible, the current state business of our special business, to build a monastery in Nyerma, Ladakh for elderly nuns from around Thiksey.
We hope you are interested in these short news stories, read reports and updates and we thank you for your continued support for the DFLN.
- Professor Jan Willis (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA)
About DFLN so far:
Although many remained aware of the activities of the DFLN through our website (www.ladakhnuns.com), may be our work to some readers of this newsletter is not yet known. Therefore we give here a very brief summary of our organization, we will inform about current and future plans.
The DFLN was founded by three women (Marlies Bosch, Jan Bosch and Bea Willis, Erica Terpstra as patron) in early 2003. The Foundation was years later that the status of non-profit organization in the Netherlands (in the U.S. and Germany, we try to get that status yet).
In the summer of 2003, traveling the three members listed above, along with Bea's husband, Jack Hare, down to Leh, Ladakh with a donation of 1.000 Euro for the Ladakh Nuns Association (LNA) in his pocket. President and Amchi, Dr. Tsering Palmo, was also present. Upon arrival in early July showed that we came at an opportune time to take part in a four-day seminar given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Choglamsar, Ladakh. Then we gave several workshops - about dental hygiene, self-empowerment, bookkeeping and computer power-point training - to a group of nuns Dr. Palmo in the office of the LNA had brought together. Following the workshops, we went with a group of nuns on a four-day bus tour through several monasteries in various parts of Ladakh. Marlies took hundreds of pictures here in the future be used for fundraising.
The team DFLN unanimously decided to build a convent for elderly nuns Nyerma sponsor Target Priority was given. Before we went back to the Netherlands we met with the architect and construction manager of the project. We also have attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new monastery.
During 2003, a new composition of the board of the DFLN chosen. Professor Jan Willis as President, Marlies Bosch as secretary, treasurer and Myra de Rooy. Dr. Annette Hollyhock is our fourth board. Mw.Terpstra remains a patron of the DFLN.
In the summer of 2004 were members Myra de Rooy and Marlies Bosch back to Leh. Myra, author of the book "Women in Buddha's Mountain" spent five months in the area, visited monasteries in Temisgang, Wakkha, Mahabodhi Pledge Ling Karsha in Zangskar and held interviews, while Marlies late July and August came five weeks. They gave a three-day workshop for the nuns from the vicinity of the monastery as Thiksey Nyerma ready to live there.
Actually it was planned to discuss living together in a community, but it soon turned out in three days testimonies and life stories of 27 elderly nuns with a focus on the hard life they had hitherto led. Much was shared on health-related and other life problems between the nuns and their visitors. Bosch and de Rooy stressed that all women are equal and the workshop ended with a shared feeling that we all sometimes have to suffer but we all can experience joy.
After this workshop, visited the two members of the DFLN the homes of several nuns who had been at the workshop. With the exception of two nuns who are employed by a local company that fruit grows on the Indian army and therefore in a modest house in relative luxury, in addition to live, live the most individual nuns in housing not more worth than an abandoned cowshed. The two nuns working already contribute a bit for the welfare of the older nuns and they said they like to grow flowers and vegetables as a convent Nyerma ready. After the home visits local women organized the meeting and a ceremony at the site. Mr. Yeshe, construction manager, called aloud the names and numbers of villagers who have so far contributed little to the construction project. It is clear that the convent built on the efforts of many concerned villagers who continue to actively work towards its realization, they are glad to see that their nuns will finally have a home.
State of play: the kitchen is ready and five rooms. In any room 2 nuns. Eventually there are 25 rooms, showers, guest rooms and a central gompa (temple). The construction is of course dependent on the weather and available funds.
Marlies Myra and brought a number of visits to the LNA office and attended a ceremony at Naga as part of the official opening of the office complex. The LNA Gompa is ready, partly thanks to the sponsorship DLFN. The nuns who work and study their daily prayers can now keep in the gompa.
Other important issues in the summer of 2004 including the following:
Nel de Jong, a Tibetan amchi from Holland, went to Ladakh and traveled, accompanied by one of the nuns of the LNA, to the mountains to collect plants and flowers to make Tibetan medicine. Marlene gave a short course in making power-point presentations to the office staff of the LNA. Doris Eddelbüttel, a German woman who has developed a method for teaching English as a second language, visited the area. Marlies and they discussed plans for a German branch of the DFLN to set (called Deutsche Gemeinschaft fur Förderung Ladakhische Nuns). Doris works since the summer to open a German bank and two women have collaborated in designing and sending out posters and 1500 brochures.
Dr. Palmo organized a meeting with local women, including members of the LNA. These women agreed to a new organization could be created called the Women's Action Group (WAG), with the objective review and investigation of complaints of abuse of nuns and local women, particularly rape cases reported, and the problems of To view the older nuns. Ms. Dolma is an active member of the LNA to the aims of the WAG very seriously. She understands the importance of the fact that the local women's case to support the nuns.
Myra de Rooy brought Euro 4000 to Ladakh. Part of this money went to the Building Fund Nyerma Nunnery, one part to the LNA and a part to specific projects in other convents. Marlies took a supplement with 1.500 Euros. The specific uses of this latter amount can be found in the appendices.
Plans for 2005:
Four students from Wesleyan University in the summer to 6 weeks to Nyerma in Ladakh to help build the monastery. The four students carry in their own way to helping the nuns in that area.
Marlies Bosch goes into June three and a half weeks to Ladakh and thanks to some very generous donations in the past year, it takes a total of almost 8.000 Euros with it, most of which will benefit the construction of the nunnery in Nyerma. One section is intended for projects of the LNA, a section for other monasteries.
A previously mentioned American teacher in the Netherlands, Ms. Deb Williams, go to Ladakh in 2006, five months for a "train the trainers" curriculum in order to give the Ladakhi nonnnen to learn how to teach English to other nuns in their respective monasteries. The LNA sees this initiative as one of the most important steps towards future independence.
A volunteer from OBOS in Boston, Massachusetts is planning to go to Ladakh to the LNA to help to establish a standardized curriculum for visiting lecturers.
There are plans for further networking with the Dutch organization Chomo Foundation and whether and how we can work together. Chomo now works mainly in Dharamsala, India but has primarily contributed to the establishment of the monastery Temisgang. Nel Willekens, known for her dedication in building the monastery in Temisgang, now works with the DFLN.
Much of our efforts will remain focused on raising funds to complete the construction of the nunnery in Nyerma. A second but very important concern is how to get it done Nyerma the nuns in monasteries and other members of the LNA can support themselves and self-reliant. Our hope in DFLN has always been that after offering support and funding for a maximum period of five years the nuns look after themselves and no longer dependent on foreign funds.
With regard to fundraising, we have plans to do a project on the NCDO for an appropriate ontwikkelinstoelage. There are also plans the Wild Geese (Wild Geese) check box, an organization that small initiatives in third world countries sponsoring.
We want to send a mailing to all Roman Catholic monasteries and ask them to nuns in Ladakh Buddhist traditions to sponsor from sisterhood and solidarity.
We hope that our donors make promises and agreements for the deposit of donations or whatever amount for at least the next four years on a regular basis. That would be easier for our limited number of users, completely voluntary, and it would help us the amount of our annual subscriptions to the Nyerma Nunnery and the LNA to get fit.
We want a complete film on the situation of the nuns in Ladakh which can be used to raise funds. Marlies provides power-point presentations on this topic, for 100 euros plus expenses, all proceeds going directly to the nuns in Ladakh. There are pictures on our website, taken by Marlies sale with all proceeds going directly to the nuns.
Our primary goal:
An amount of around 50.000 Euros is needed to build the nunnery to complete. A room for two nuns can be built around 600 Euros, but this is without a good bed, linoleum on the floor, or kitchen equipment. School classes are needed for the younger nuns in the future will come, as two or three guests to provide a regular income for the monastery. When completed it will Nyerma a nunnery of the most beautiful and peaceful places in all of Ladakh, near the famous monastery Thiksey. Visitors can enjoy peace, quiet and comfortable room with simple food and lodging. This income from visitors who come to retreat or just a visit in the summer months, the nuns are able to maintain the monastery in winter, when visiting is not possible because of the weather. Self-reliance is the goal of the LNA and the nuns in Nyerma.
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made a generous gesture and others who think about a way to help www.ladakhnuns.com we recommend our site to visit and consider making a donation or an annual contribution . Sarva Mangalam! All Auspiciousness!