Who We Are

Who we are
Tara Bodong Foundation (Netherlands), registered in the Netherlands as Stichting Tara Bodong (NL) is a non-profit charitable foundation, which supports humanitarian projects in Northern India and Nepal. 

Our Mission
Our mission is to structurally improve the living conditions of the local people in the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal and help them break out of the vicious circle of hardship which often characterises their lives. ​The purpose of our main project, the Lumla Bodong Nunnery/Girls’ School is to help educate girls so they could improve their local communities for generations to come. 

Our Roots
Tara Bodong Foundation (Netherlands) was registered on 24 February 2011 by Cecilie (Weirum) Stuyvenberg and Martin Stuyvenberg, who now live in Norway. Both Cecilie and Martin remain active supporters of the charity and our events. 
Cecilie´s mother Siri Weirum, who used to work for the Red Cross, met Tibetan Monk Geshe Pema Dorjee on one of her many travels and got introduced to the hardship and desperate need of the people in the Lumla region. She decided to help and subsequently founded Tara Bodong Norway, our sister organisation. The name Tara Bodong is a combination of the words Tara and Bodong. ​Tara (Sanskrit, "star") is a Buddhist goddess and boddhisattva. She is characterised by her compassion and is especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. The Bodong Tradition is one of the oldest traditions in Buddhism and practised in Northern India, Tibet and Nepal. It was on the verge of becoming extinct, and Geshe Pema Dorjee was asked by HH the Dalai Lama to revive and promote the Bodong tradition. This forms part of the education at the Bodong Nunnery/Girls' School in Lumla, our main project. 

The Tara Bodong Foundation (Netherlands) is registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) as a non-profit organisation (Stichting) under number 52165043. We are also officially recognised by the Dutch Tax Administration as a Public Benefit Organisation with ANBI status (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling). Our ANBI fiscal number is 850325511 and can be used to apply for tax deductions for your donations. Click here for more information.


Board of Directors

Christian Horn (Chairman)

Debbie Wirtjes-Lewis (Board Secretary)

Vincent van den Hurk (Treasurer)

Our activities are managed and organised by a group of international friends in Hilversum who together represent 5 different nationalities. We work voluntarily and aim to keep the organisation as lean as possible by keeping overhead costs to a minimum, thus making sure that every euro donated goes entirely to our charitable projects.


Click here to see our Annual Financial and Activity Reports. 

Committee members: Tatjana Horn; Christian Horn; Debbie Wirtjes-Lewis; Eva Persson; Silvia Trevisanato.


  • Christian Horn


    My name is Christian. I was born and raised in Germany, and have been living in the Netherlands since 2004 with my wife Tatjana and our two sons. When I met Cecilie and her mother Siri, I was first touched by their dedication for the cause. As I learned more about the project, and after having met Pema, I started to understand the incredible hardship that these girls go through in this almost unknown part of Northern India, and how they need help to break through the vicious circle of poverty, lack of education and ill health. Working as an executive in a large global company, I travel a lot, and have come to realize how many are less fortunate than us, how education is the key to personal and community development, but also how working together can make a real difference. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Tara Bodong foundation.

  • Debbie

    Trinidad and Tobago

    My name is Debbie Wirtjes-Lewis. I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and now live in the Netherlands with my husband and two daughters. I am a former journalist and now work as a communications consultant. I continue to follow global events and I am continuously plagued by a feeling of helplessness when I see the extent of suffering around the world. That is why I am grateful to Siri and Pema-la for allowing me to help them make a difference to these girls and their families. The fact that Lumla and other villages like it are thousands of miles away, shouldn't exclude it from our compassion and support. What we can't see does not mean it doesn't exist. This project proves that no matter where we are, or how much or how little we have, there is always a way to bring comfort and help others.

  • Vincent
    van den Hurk


    My name is Vincent. I am a Dutchman by birth. My wife and I have a son and a daughter for whom we are able to provide a good start in life from a basis of safety, comfort and education. Looking around in the world it is obvious that for many young people this is not the case. By talking with the volunteers of the Tara Bodong Foundation I understood how they transform their compassion into enthusiasm, energy and ideas to create tangible results and potential for change in the Himalayan region. When I was asked to give a helping hand it felt like the natural thing to do. My intention is that through our support and cooperation with local stakeholders we will continue to make a difference in the lives of young people. With the wish that they will grow up to be happy adults who will serve and contribute to their local communities.

  • Tatjana Horn


    My name is Tatjana and I live in the Netherlands with my husband and our two sons since 2004. Before having children, I worked for many years as a marketing professional in the travel and services industry. When I met Cecilie and later Siri and Pema, I felt immediately connected and moved by their story. Seeing how much hardship the girls in the remote villages of Lumla are facing, it came very naturally to me to become part of the Tara Bodong group. Using  my skills and former experience for something truly meaningful, and to work together in a team of wonderful people makes a real difference to my life, and hopefully to some of the girls in the Himalayan Region in the future.

    Silvia Trevisanato


    My name is Silvia Trevisanato, an Italian mum living abroad since 2001. I worked as an architect in Italy and in the US. I came to Holland in 2005 and I met wonderful people, among those I met Siri Weirum and Lama Pema Dorjee. They touched my heart and I trust them completely. I found in them my way to help less fortunate human beings. I help Tara Bodong when needed and as much as I can.


    I hope all together will succeed to improve the quality of life of those young girls in Lumla only if just a tiny bit.

  • Renée Wirtjes

    Trinidad and Tobago

    My name is Renée Wirtjes, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, but have been living in the Netherlands since I was three years old. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics & Operations Research at the University of Amsterdam and am now pursuing a Master’s in Finance. From a young age I have been hearing stories from my mother (Debbie Wirtjes-Lewis) about the girls in Lumla, and also met Lama Pema Dorjee a few times. This inspired me to help the Tara Bodong organisation as much as I can in my spare time. My goal is to inspire more students to support this foundation, and bring marketing skills from a student's perspective. Hopefully we can give these girls the future all girls deserve.

Tara Bodong

Tara Bodong gives young girls a chance at education. We support small scale humanitarian projects in India and Nepal through donations and knowledge transfer. Our main project is the Lumla Nunnery/ Girls’ school in Lumla, Arunachal Pradesh, NE India. 

Email: info@tarabodong.org

Chamber of Commerce/ KvK 52165043 

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The members and friends of Tara Bodong (Netherlands) appreciate your donation. We will do our very best to make sure that every contribution we receive will go entirely to the nunnery/girls’ school.

© 2019 by Tara Bodong