Nunnery/girls’ school in Lumla, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Tibetan Lama, Geshe Pema Dorjee  is running a project to build a school for poor and orphaned girls in Lumla in Arunachal Pradesh, a restricted Himalayan area in North-East India, bordering Bhutan and China (Tibet).

Due to the remoteness, inaccessibility and extreme poverty of the area, children rarely get any education. Older children work in agriculture together with their parents, whilst younger girls remain isolated at home, looking after younger siblings and maintaining the household. A common ailment amongst these children is blindness or bad sight, caused by the flue-less cooking fires in their homes.   Many girls will marry and have many children of their own at a very young age. Lack of health education, poor hygiene and basic facilities often cause an early death for these young mothers, leaving many children orphaned and having to fend for themselves. As a result of this, many young girls are abused and forced into prostitution in the bigger cities.

Through Geshe Pema Dorjee’s  many trips to the surrounding villages of Lumla, where he is researching the Bodong Tradition of Buddhism, he recognised the apparent need of the people suffering from extreme poverty. He has taken the responsibility of organizing, directing and raising funds for numerous humanitarian and charitable projects, of which the girls school/nunnery in Lumla is one.

Siri Weirum is one of the projects coordinators and fundraisers. She worked previously for the Norwegian Red Cross, and is now working on a voluntary basis in India and Nepal, together with Geshe Pema Dorjee. Siri describes the essence of the project:

“Our goal is to create opportunities for women by providing modern education in the Lumla area. The students of the school/nunnery should feel a strong commitment to serve their communities. After the education (10 years), the girls can have a real choice, including returning to their communities or supporting the Buddhist faith. The aim is that the girls will become resourceful women in their own locality, working as teachers, social workers, health care workers and mentors. By being taught in the Bodong Tradition of Buddhism, which traditionally was practiced in the area, these girls will help to revitalize their religious and cultural heritage.”

Aims and Objectives of the Project:

  • Construction of a new school/nunnery housing and educating 80-90 young girls (aged between 8 and 14 years) from poor and at risk backgrounds.
  •  Provide a sound and secure environment for the girls, with emphasis on love and compassion.
  • Impart the best of a modern education along with intimate understanding of their Buddhist cultural and Philosophical heritage according to the Bodong Tradition.
  • Assist the students to become self-reliant, contributing members of their communities and the world at large.

Main Educational Objectives:

  • Language studies in Tibetan, English and Hindi
  • Literature and reading comprehension.
  • Mathematics, social studies and science.
  • Health, hygiene and environmental awareness.
  • Buddhist philosophy; prayers, rituals and meditation according to the Bodong Tradition.
  • Computer literacy.



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