Tara Bodong Foundation (Netherlands) is a charitable organisation that supports humanitarian projects in the Himalayan region of Northeast India. Our mission is to improve the living conditions of local people living in the area by helping girls get access to education. We do this through (financial and non-financial) donations, capacity building and knowledge sharing.
Our main project is the Lumla Bodong Nunnery/ School for Girls, which provides a safe and loving home for vulnerable girls from mostly nomadic families spread over 50 tiny villages around Lumla. Lumla is a mountainous region located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It shares a border with Bhutan and Tibet (China) and is home to mostly Tibetan descendants. In addition to receiving a state-recognised education, the girls also receive lessons in Tibetan Buddhism with the goal of becoming Tibetan nuns and leaders in their communities.
WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING
Our girls enjoyed a well-deserved break from their studies during the summer vacation. During the summer months, they remain at the nunnery and spend their time playing, studying the Tibetan language Bhoti, doing their Buddhist studies, gardening, and making handicraft items. Those who come from stable homes usually visit their families for the Tibetan New Year (Losar) which occurs in February or March.
Our girls are educated under the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), an Indian government institution. The young ones attend the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Avasiya Vidyala Melongkhar in New Lungla, and successfully completed another year studying subjects like English, Hindi, Mathematics, and Environmental Studies (EVS).
The older girls go to the Government Higher Secondary School Lumla. This takes them all the way to the 12th Grade, which is the equivalent of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.
As you can see in the pictures, the girls have started to wear their Buddhist robes, which were presented to them by Geshe Pema Dorjee who visited the nunnery in March. During his visit, he also met with the Bodong Charity Committee to get an update on their activities.
Visit to the Netherlands
In August, we were very happy to welcome Geshe Dorjee once again to the Netherlands! He visited us as part of his annual European tour to visit the main sponsors of his projects in Nepal and India. During his four decades of service, Geshe Dorjee has established schools, arranged medical care for sick people, set up orphanages, nunneries, and monasteries, educated villagers on human trafficking, introduced new agricultural techniques, and provided safe water, toilets, and smokeless stoves for indoor cooking.
Our ambition, at the Tara Bodong Foundation is that the combination of a government recognised education with teachings in Buddhist philosophy will equip them to become leaders in their community as teachers, health care providers and social workers. We even hope that some of them may even go on to set up their own nunnery or home for girls.
For this reason, we are happy to support his work as we know that every euro is used to help those in need.
Growing Means Thriving
In 2011, a small group of friends in Hilversum embarked on this journey to give young nomadic girls living in the Himalayan foothills of Arunachal Pradesh a chance to go to school. Today, we are proud to say that we have now provided a home to 27 girls! They all live happily together at the Lumla Bodong Nunnery/ Home, a shelter exclusively built by our supporters to house these nomadic girls while they go to school in Lumla Village.
The contributions from sponsors and other donors pay for their supervision, school uniforms, clothes, meals, utilities, and other living expenses. The result is that all 27 girls are thriving and six of the oldest girls will actually graduate from high school in 2025. To mark this important anniversary, and the success of our project - we made a short video which can be seen via this link. You can also find the video on our website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, so please feel free to share!
Our girls have successfully completed the first term of the school year and performed really well in their exams and are now looking forward to the next term. They follow the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), an Indian national-level education board for private and public schools, operated and regulated by the Indian Government. This system is different from the European system and has two terms in an academic year, with each term covering 50% of the syllabus.
The younger ones attend the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Avasiya Vidyala Melongkhar in New Lungla and have successfully done exams in English, Hindi, Maths, and Environmental Studies (EVS).
Take a look at the performance report card below to see what they learn at school.
THE IMPACT OF A SPONSOR
The mountainous hillsides around Lumla are dotted with nomadic families desperate to give their girls a chance at a better life. Since 2014, each girl at our Lumla Bodong Nunnery/Home for Girls has received individual sponsorship. With your support, these inspiring young women are on their way to becoming independent thinkers who will help improve the situation in their local communities for generations to come.
For just €45 per month, you can change a girl’s life, who can then change an entire community! Your contribution provides access to lodging, clothes, food, school uniforms, books, and anything else she might need, to become a self-reliant, contributing member of her community and the world at large. Click here to find out more about our sponsorship programme or donate.