Both in Ladakh and in the Netherlands the DFLN organize activities to support and promote self-sufficiency of the nuns in Ladakh. The DFLN works together and closely with the nunneries in Ladakh and the wishes and needs of these nuns guide our activities.
Since 2003, the DFLN board annual travel to support various projects or conduct workshops in Ladakh is taken at their own expense.
Our volunteer coordinator, Aniek Jaartsveld, for several years now has been staying in Ladakh from April to September to guide volunteers and help the nuns with several projects. Marlies Bosch (secretary) goes to Ladakh every year to support nuns’ projects and give workshops. In addition other board members regularly go to Ladakh. Every year there are enough volunteers to run the guesthouse.
In the Netherlands:
Our activities are also held in the Netherlands. We try to get people acquainted with the culture and position of nuns in Ladakh.
In addition, we recruit individuals and collect funds thru donations for projects to support the nuns. We do this for example:
- By giving PowerPoint presentations on various occasions (to women groups at museums, libraries, etc.)
- By organizing yearly Ladakh Festivals, in various places in the country
- By the annual publication of a newsletter, both digitally and by mail
- By distributing a flyer
- By creating links to relevant websites.
- By giving publicity to the position of nuns in Ladakh through various media such as newspapers, TV (did a recent report on Belgium TV), working together and cooperating with film crews on documentaries about nuns in Ladakh.
- By sale of products through the website, such as the photo book 'Light in Ladakh’, various movies and postcards. Also, photos can be ordered in various sizes.
Cooperation in Ladakh:
There are currently 29 nunneries in Ladakh. They are spread over a vast rugged area in northwestern India, where winters can be bitterly cold. The DFLN works in Ladakh together with the Ladakh Nuns Association (LNA) and other nunneries.
Dr. Tsering Palmo founded the LNA in 1996. This organization maintains relationships with some of the nunneries in Ladakh. There are about 1400 nuns living in Ladakh. Some of them must study elsewhere because higher education in Buddhist Ladakh is very limited.
In addition, a number of nuns still live outside the monasteries, to provide for their families.
The LNA encourages nuns to have serious education, both in the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) and traditional Tibetan medicine. This will allow the nun communities opportunity to become self-reliant and independent. Meanwhile, other nunneries are active in educating their community like the nunnery in Temisgang (with Dutch support of the former Chomo Foundation, including Nel Willekens and Tenzin Chodron) and a new nunnery, Gephel Shadrubling in Sabu/Basgo. The young communities focus on a good education to enable future self-sustainability. In the Central Institute for Buddhist Studies, not far from Leh in Choglamsar, traditional Buddhist education is offered to nuns and laymen. Not only are they trained in Buddhist philosophy but also learn to sculpture wood, make Buddha statues and paint traditional thankas.