Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the members of the Lumla Nunnery School decide to start construction before the total funding target was achieved?

– The most important reason for starting construction of the class rooms now is that there are many girls in need of education. By starting up initial facilities, we at least have the opportunity to offer a few of the girls a chance while they are still young. – Over the last few years we have received many donations towards this project. Geshe Pema Dorjee and Tara Bodong felt that the time was right to put this money to work and show our donors and more importantly, the people of Lumla that the Nunnery School will soon be a reality. By seeing photos of how the construction is progressing and how the money is being spent it will be much easier to understand the urgency of the situation and hopefully will inspire more people to give their support.

When will construction begin?

Construction started in September 2014 and will continue until December / January. January and February are usually too cold for building so there will be a pause until March.

When do we expect the building to be finished?

In Asia and especially in Lumla, it is difficult to give an exact time of when the construction will be finished. There are many factors which are not in our hands such as weather, logistics, availability of materials etc. and efficiency here is much less than in any other country in Europe. Together with our European and Indian experts we are working closely with the local construction team and will provide regular updates on the project. Keep checking our website and sign up for our newsletter for regular updates.

How are we going to handle the construction?

Transparency, accountability and integrity are the cornerstones of every project undertaken by Tara Bodong and Pema Dorjee.  In this regard, we promise to maintain professional accounts and establish control mechanisms to ensure quality of the construction and transparent purchasing procedure. In addition, our donors will receive a progress report every three months. To keep our budget as low as possible and so get the most value for money, the Lumla Bodong Tashi Choeling Charitable Committee will take full responsibility for the construction of the Lumla Nunnery School. The members of the committee will begin by hiring three employees during the construction period who will work under the supervision of the committee with guidance from the architect and local experts. Additional employees will include a full-time construction supervisor with experience in constructing buildings like the one we are planning. He will supervise the materials and ensure that the building is carried out exactly according to the plan. There will be a caretaker/ watchman responsible for all equipment and materials such as bricks, stones etc. (so that it will not be taken or stolen) and who will keep the building site tidy. he will also open and close the site each day. Finally an accountant will be hired part-time to maintain detailed and transparent accounts.

How involved will the architect be during the construction period?

When we are about to start construction we will invite the architect who designed the original plan to brief committee members, the construction supervisor and local experts. The local experts will be available throughout construction to provide guidance and professional advice to the builders.

Has there been any inflation since the drawing up of the budget?

Prices of materials have moved up significantly by some 10-30%, depending on the material.

However, our funds are being kept in Euro’s and the Indian Rupee Euro (INR/EUR) exchange rate has moved as well offering some compensation to the cost inflation.

Do we have a detailed breakdown of materials needed?

This question is difficult to answer in reality in a remote and uncertain region such as Lumla. There are many factors which are beyond our control and efficiencies here are much less than in any other countries in Europe. If you go through the detailed plan (architect’s drawing) you will get a rough idea, but if you have more specific questions beyond the plan, please contact us and we will try to answer them.

Is there a contingency amount built into the budget to allow for cost over-runs?

There is no contingency amount in the budget.

Will the nunnery/ girls’ school be insured during the construction period?

In general, the insurance system in India is not that reliable when it comes to buildings and especially in Lumla there is almost no building insurance available.

Earthquake risk?

The architect has assured us all the foundations, beams, and pillars are designed to withstand an earthquake in the Arunachal Pradesh region. The materials to be used are of a high quality and will be thoroughly tested and checked, but there are no guarantees. We will be using the same quality of construction as new buildings in the area.

Sanitary facilities /heating ?

Sanitary facilities, plumbing and electrical wiring are included in the budget. There is no heating system included in the budget. We have discussed this issue in great detail and decided that it would better not to have a heating system. This is in keeping with the normal living conditions of the girls who do not even have electricity in their homes. If we spoil the girls too much then they may not want to return to their villages.

Will we get regular progress reports?

Any questions you have related to the construction of the nunnery/ girls’ school, please contact us.

Once the nunnery /girls’ school is built how much will be the start-up costs and the operating expenses?

Start-up Costs: This will initially cover the costs of furniture for the dormitories, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining hall and a library. We have not yet calculated this amount as we are focusing on the construction phase first.

Operating Costs: The entire operating budget should be covered and managed by our sponsorship plan which involves monthly donations from individuals. This money is expected to cover all the running expenses.

Below is a rough idea how the budget will be broken up into tangible items for sponsorship.

Monthly sponsorship money will be divided as follows: (a)  Kitchen – food, fuel, a cook and other kitchen expenses. (b) Education – text books, notebooks, pens, pencils, teaching aids and materials, chalk, teachers, games etc. (c)  Administration – office staff, electricity, water, stationery, telephone, computer, internet etc. (d) Health – annual health check, basic medicines, nurse, doctors’ visits etc. (e)  Clothing – clothes, shoes, bed and bath linen, toiletries. (f) Miscellaneous funds for emergency cases. Expenses from (a) to (f) have to be included in the monthly sponsorship amount. The annual operating budget will be calculated after an assessment of the realistic expenses. The first year will be little difficult but after the second or third year we would be better able to make a more realistic calculation.

What will the children be taught?

We will provide the girls with a very strong Buddhist teaching along with a modern education. We will not follow the exact curriculum of the Indian system, instead we will provide the same education as we give to the monks at our Monastery in Nepal.

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