Announcing $100,000 Matching Challenge for BNF Donations

A New Year, A New Challenge

Nyilo Tashi Delek! A very Happy New Year from all of us at the Bhutan Foundation!
The year 2020 will be a noteworthy year for women. In the United States, we’re approaching the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Meanwhile in Bhutan, the game-changing Training and Resource Centre, a literal mountainside of classrooms, dormitories, a cafeteria, and a library, is being built as a sanctuary for the education and empowerment of women and girls.
Late last fall, I had the opportunity to spend a day at the site of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation’s Training and Resource Centre (TRC) with the organization’s Executive Director, Dr. Tashi Zangmo. Located on the outskirts of Thimphu, the Centre is taking shape using traditional Bhutanese construction techniques, known as “rammed earth”, using mud and straw. After a drive on newly paved roads and a short walk up uneven temporary stairs, we caught a glimpse of the spectacular view the many women, who currently make the center their home, see every morning.
The view of Thimphu from the steps of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation Training and Resource Centre Library
Years ago, Dr. Tashi Zangmo, named one of BBC’s 100 most influential women of 2018, recognized the institutional challenges women, particularly nuns, face in Bhutan, such as lack of resources for education and development. She has since spent over a decade working to develop training and facilities to better support the monastic community of women. Through the establishment of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation, she has helped provide the nuns with clean drinking water, toilets and showers, improved living quarters, English teachers, and training on nutrition, health, hygiene, and life skills education.
Walking up to the newly constructed library
Yoga studio situated in the attic space above the library
Dawa Sherpa inspecting the mud-faced walls under construction
I am inspired by the reach and diversity of projects these women will undertake through the Training and Resource Centre. The Centre will train nuns as counselors and hospice, social service, and palliative care workers. In doing so, the Bhutan Nuns Foundation also is realizing the potential that nuns serve in their local communities as social workers in various fields. Further, it will be a platform for nuns to share lessons, raise issues, and widen their horizons. Even while under construction, the Centre is developing a thriving community of women educators, spiritual teachers, social workers, and community leaders who are capitalizing on all that the site can offer through short trainings and workshops.
Workers clear a stone pathway to the new cafeteria currently under construction
As a challenge this new year, we’re looking to support the Bhutan Nuns Foundation in the construction of the Training and Resource Centre. With the help of an inspired donor, we are excited to announce a donation matching challenge program for 2020!
Every time we raise $5,000 in donations to this project, we will receive a matching check, up to a total of $100,000 for the year!
We hope this New Year’s challenge will inspire you to join us in supporting the Training and Resource Centre and to help provide women and girls in Bhutan the opportunity to learn, engage, and serve their local communities. Every little bit helps, so please share this newsletter with your friends and loved ones!
We’re excited about what this new year will bring and hope you are, too.
With gratitude,
Dawa Sherpa
Director of Programs and Operations