The Bhutan Nuns Foundation (BNF) was founded in 2009 as a charitable organization providing support and resources for girls and women, living in both nunneries and their surrounding communities throughout Bhutan.
The BNF provides a high leverage means of empowering and educating Bhutanese girls and women, improving the living conditions and economic vitality of rural villages, and preserving Bhutan’s strong, sustainable culture as it faces rapid economic development.
Many girls and women in Bhutan enter nunneries for short to long periods to gain an education and escape poverty and abuse. These women dedicate their lives to serving society. They are very involved in local communities, often helping needy families and serving as role models for other girls and women. Despite the great contribution nuns make to society, Bhutan’s twenty-one nunneries receive nearly no support. They often lack basic sanitation, sleeping and cooking quarters, trained teachers and learning materials.
We leverage contributions received to promote empowerment, education, improved living conditions and increased economic vitality of rural villages, while also preserving Bhutan’s strong, sustainable culture during this time of rapid change.
The BNF is under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.
Letter from the Queen Mother
Each year, I look back and try to recollect how I spent it so that I can ask myself: What have I accomplished in this swift span of twelve months? What have I learned this year that enables me to approach the year ahead of me more meaningfully and better equipped? Our best is never good enough, but we can always improve and learn from the past, rather than look back repenting and regretfully. You can only honor the past and learn from it, and move forward looking ahead and aspiring to benefit others even better. Aspiration to do something good paves the path ahead of you, and right intention matters for the right action to follow through.
The past seven years of watching the Bhutan Nuns Foundation (BNF) in its many activities have disclosed many lessons to the people who are closely involved with it. For example, that charity work is not a piece of cake, and brings its own challenges. But learning to tackle the challenges and using them as a stepping-stone to move ahead is most important. I try to encourage the individuals at BNF to think that other’s opinions of our work might be important but our intentions and motivations are much more important and make a huge difference in striving for a positive outcome. We are our best witnesses and as long as our consciences are clear and our intention is to benefit others, exterior obstacles should not distract us from our goals. We all have a purpose in life and to make full use of that potential mindfully and steadily is essential.
The foundation’s mission is and always was to benefit the Buddhist nuns of the country, and enable them to reach out to society, other women and youths in need of support, assistance and empathy in these very challenging times of profound change. I see that the Buddhist nuns of Bhutan have a major role to play; these women, equipped with spiritual values, have an immense potential not only to have a meaningful life for themselves, but to benefit others in the society to inspire and teach others with necessary knowledge they have gained.
Thus, our responsibility as a foundation is to help the nuns identify their potential and acquire the life skills necessary to fulfill their mission as agents of change. This requires awareness and understanding on both sides. As a human being, our values are universal; even more so if we hail from the same country and culture. Our values, purpose of life and our goals will be even more attuned. It should not matter which region one comes from and which discipline or sect one belongs to: our goals and purposes must be to serve with right intention, free of bias.
To conclude, I am happy that BNF has been able to serve as a bridge between our supporters from far and wide; reaching out to the nuns on their behalf has been a very rewarding activity over the years. I sincerely hope that this widespread interest in our nuns’ improvements will continue and I wish all the best to our supporters around the world. I am endlessly grateful to our nuns for their prayers and their endeavors to benefit the society and for the daily dedication prayers for the benefit of our donors. May the merit they have acquired through their generosity persist life after life, like a drop of water in the ocean subsists as long as the ocean remains!