In This Issue
How Ashoka Grants Increase Self-Sufficiency for Nuns
Pema Choling Shedra, recipient of an Ashoka Grant, shows how focusing on nutrition and consistent teachers can improve education for young women and girls in rural Bhutan.
Banner photo: The yield of hard work cultivating seedlings, Bhutan's most treasured crop, chilies.
108 Seconds on Santi Sena
New video about KF support for Cambodian girls as they take ordination for five days.
"The contribution of a program like this to the preservation of Buddhism in Cambodia cannot be overstated. Poverty, globalisation, and hankering for 'stuff,' political fear of a strong dharma and sangha, and the subsequent and purposeful weakening of Buddhist institutions, all together diminish the impact of Buddhism on the hearts and minds of Cambodians, especially its youth."
—Glenn Fawcett, Executive Director, Lotus Outreach
Help us build Khyentse Foundation's funding base so that we can continue to support the study and practice of all traditions of Buddhism around the world.
Monthly Donations Matched
When you become a monthly donor, every dollar you donate is matched by the Patrons of Manjushri.
KF Social Media Updates
Here are a few of the stories we posted on this month:
The Story of KF Now Available in Two New Languages: German and French
First Person: Kris Yao, Translator and KF Director
We post updates a few times a week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Join us there for regular updates!
The Nuns of Pema Choling Shedra
Ashoka Grants Support Bhutanese Nuns with Better Nutrition and Education
Pema Choling Shedra, recipient of a 2017 Ashoka Grant, provides basic and higher education in Buddhist philosophy for women and girls. The first Buddhist College for women in Bhutan, the Shedra was established in the Bumthang region in 2001 to increase opportunities for Bhutanese girls, with most of the 176 students coming from rural or vulnerable backgrounds.
The nuns of Pema Choling Shedra, a residential Buddhist community of 100 women and girls, aged 12 - 60, located in the Bumthang region of Bhutan.
The grant supports the rural shedra by contributing to the salary of four teachers and improving students’ health by increasing access to diverse, healthy food. Shedra staff expressed the importance of Khyentse Foundation’s role, saying, "With this support we are able to meet some of our funding challenges and provide an opportunity for girls and women in Bhutan who come from vulnerable backgrounds to pursue their education and empower them to progress along the path to enlightenment.”
Good Health Supports Good Education
To foster a sustained, high-quality environment for learning, students must be healthy and have access to nutritious food. Bumthang, Bhutan, where the shedra is located, presented two specific obstacles the staff needed to address to ensure consistent availability of healthy food: the cold climate in Bumthang, which limits what vegetables can be grown; and Bhutan's mountainous terrain, which significantly increases transportation costs.
With these considerations in mind, the shedra developed a vegetable garden that the students can maintain themselves. They purchased vegetable seeds that can grow in high altitude and cold weather, including cabbage, carrots, lettuce, beans, peas, chilies, cucumbers, spinach, and ola-choto (crow beak). Before the garden, the shedra’s supply of green vegetables was often limited to cabbage and chilies from local markets.
Teaching in Remote Regions
The shedra’s remote location has also complicated finding qualified teachers. Teachers must be willing to live in or travel to Bumthang, and they must be qualified to teach a range of topics, from Buddhist philosophy and English, to vocational skills such as thangka painting, embroidery, and tailoring, to yoga and meditation. Khyentse Foundation funds currently support the salaries of four full-time teachers, who are key to the nuns’ education.
"Many of Pema Choling's students come from disadvantaged and rural backgrounds, and while their wants are small, they need better meals and living conditions. The Foundation's support helped them continue to plant their own food by providing quality seeds and gardening needs. In the greenhouse, the girls grow lovely greens to supplement their meals. In a place where the winter is long, it's a real treat to have something like spinach and fresh local veggies."
—Sioksian Pek, who helps coordinate Pema Choling's Ashoka Grant
Increased Funding for Nuns
Khyentse Foundation is committed to increase funding for Buddhist nunneries and women, and we need your help to identify possible recipients. Traditionally, nunneries receive less funding than monasteries, and although that is changing, there is still a discrepancy in educational opportunities for girls and nuns compared to young monks.
If you know of a nunnery that could become more self-sufficient with support from Khyentse Foundation, please encourage them to apply during the current grant cycle.
KF Expands Ashoka Grant Program
KF plans to offer more Ashoka Grants in 2018. This program is open to individuals and organizations committed to promoting and preserving Buddhism. This year, we are increasing the number of grants we offer to worthy projects and are funding projects with larger budget proposals. Through the Ashoka Grant program, KF is able to connect to and support all kinds of projects currently under way in Buddhist circles. Anyone is welcome to apply for this grant, and the scope of the program is wide. The committee welcomes applications related to all kinds of Buddhist activity—education, monastics, and text translation and preservation, to name just a few.
KF wants to hear about your project and strengthen our network throughout Buddhist communities around the world. Apply now! Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2018. For more information, read the criteria on the Apply page of the website.
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