The Bhutan Nuns sponsorship programme aims to improve the basic quality of life for nuns and nunneries through the provision of daily nutritious meals, clothing, teaching/ learning materials and other essentials e.g. mattresses and blankets. Currently, six nunneries are receiving support via 60 sponsorship shares. At S$600 per sponsorship share per year, the Bhutan Nuns sponsorship programme runs from January to December, and is renewable on an annual basis.
Period: ongoing since January 2012
Due to Bhutan’s geographical terrain and the nunneries remote locations, the nuns’ living conditions are extremely basic, especially as the altitude and climate in Bhutan can vary widely including cold winters where temperatures at night falling below freezing.
Nunneries under the nuns sponsorship programme are evaluated based on their need for assistance and currently include:
- Shedrup Choling Nunnerylocated in Tashiphu, Gelephu, Southern Bhutan. This nunnery is 11 hours drive from Thimphu and can only be reached via farm road. During heavy monsoon rain in the summer, the road is cut off and the nuns can only reach the nunnery by walking.
- Yoesel Choling Nunnery located in Panbang, Zhemgang, South Central Bhutan. It takes 18 hours drive from Thimphu to reach this remote nunnery entailing border crossing through Assam, India to reach the nunnery. Due to its remoteness, the surrounding local community is poor and underprivileged and is unable to provide much support to the nunnery.
- Sherab Yosel Choling Nunnerylocated in Martsala, Samdrupjongkhar, Eastern Bhutan. The sponsorship support has enabled the nuns to purchase milk and eggs, improving their health especially for the younger nuns as their diet otherwise lacks protein.
- Lower Chothpo Goenpa (Ugyen Phuntsho Choling) Nunnery located in Pemagateshel District, Eastern Bhutan and is three days drive from Thimphu. The monk teachers and nuns go for alms round during the harvest period in order to supplement their provisions. The sponsorship support has enabled the nuns to buy lentils and eggs on a weekly basis.
- Samten Choling Nunnery located in TashigangWamrong, Eastern Bhutan. The nunnery used to rely on dana offerings made to their Spiritual Teacher, who is well respected by the local community. However, when their Spiritual Teacher passed away in April 2013, the nuns were concerned for their survival and FFM came forward in July 2013 to support the nuns in their time of need.
- Upper Chothpo Goenpa Nunnery located in Pemagatshel District, Eastern Bhutan in a very remote district where there is no form of public transport. The nunnery is situated high up one of the mountains with no road access. The only way to get to the nunnery is an hour’s trek along a narrow rocky uneven path which is quite steep at times and requires the nuns to walk in single file in most places.