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Bhutan: Bhutan Women's Project

Build it and they will come...

The Ani Gompa Women's Community Center (spiritual practice center for women) was not only without bathrooms, heat, electricity, and kitchen, it lacked a roof.

These women who perform the tasks we associate with social and healthcare workers in the west, go from home to home with only the welfare of others in mind. Their survival depends upon donated food and shelter for the night. What keeps them going is their deep faith in the practice of loving kindness, called bodichitta.

If we are able to build them a "home", then literally hundreds of women from Pemagatsel will come there to live, joining in service alongside these brave women.

Bhutanese women in traditional dress
Lopen Kado
Ask not what others can do for you...

Lopen Pema of Tongsa asked nothing for himself...

How this project arose says so much about Bhutan. Lopen Pema (left) runs Tongsa Dzong, one of Bhutan's largest spiritual centers.

In the Spring of 2002 Pema lead me on a tour of Tongsa Dzong. Over 500 young monks with one "bathroom", no running water, no electricity, sleeping seventy to a room, a single blanket on cement floors in the below zero weather of the Himalayas, barely enough food to survive. I asked him what could we do to help? He nodded his head and smiled saying, "we are quite fine here, but there are some nuns in Eastern Bhutan who are having a really difficult time. Maybe you could help them?"

And so we are...

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