The sisters belong to the Drukpa order and are experts in martial arts. This is why they are called "Kung Fu nuns". They crossed the Himalayas cycling and arrived in India. After the earthquake of 2015, the exploitation of women and children has increased. On their journey the nuns distributed food and medical care.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A total of 500 Buddhist nuns pedaled for 4 thousand kilometers across the Himalayas between Nepal and India to draw attention to human trafficking in the region. Jigme Konchok Lhamo, a 22 year old nun, explains: "While last year we were helping relief to earthquake victims in Nepal, we learned of many poor girls being sold by their own parents because to help the family survive . We want to do something to change the mentality that considers women inferior to men. This mountain hike shows that women have the same power and strength as men”.
The trip started in Kathmandu and ended in the city of Leh, in northern India. The nuns belong to the Drukpa lineage - one of the "modern" schools of Tibetan Buddhism - and are expert in martial arts. Their skill has earned them the nickname "Kung Fu nuns" and they live mainly in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
Throwing off their monastic robes and donning sneakers and cycling helmets for their fourth major hike. Along the way they met the local people, government officials, religious leaders and spoke of gender equality, peaceful coexistence and respect for the environment.
The nuns distributed food to the poor and medical care to villagers. They were joined by Gyalwang Drukpa, the 12th head of the order. Jigme Pema Wangchen reformed the movement, inspiring the revaluation of nuns. Before the reform, they were intended for the most menial jobs and were beaten and threatened by male monks. Gyalwang Drukpa gave them leadership roles and introduced courses of Kung Fu, so that women could learn to protect themselves.
Thanks to him, in the last 12 years the number of nuns has increased from 30 to 500 and are active in the spread of values such as gender equality. They are fighting for women in Nepal who are sold as sex slaves by unscrupulous traffickers, attracted by the illusion of well-paying jobs, but then forced to sell their bodies in brothels and private homes.
The earthquake of April 25, 2015 resulted in about 9 thousand victims and left almost 40 thousand children without parents. They, too, are likely to fall into the hands of traffickers, often disguised as holy men and benefactors.
Nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo says: "People think that we have to be locked up in the temple and pray all the time, since we are nuns. But prayer is not enough. The Gyalwang Drukpa teaches us that we must go out and put our prayers into practice. After all, actions speak louder than words ".
AMRAT is an organisation that brings together more than 100 nuns from across India. Founded in 2009, it has established a network of civil and social groups. Yesterday was the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons. At least, 18 million people live in slave-like conditions in India.
In 1993 she founded Maiti Nepal, an NGO that has saved hundreds of girls from prostitution abroad. Every year, at least 5,000 women end up in India, China, as well as Arab and African countries. The Padma Shri is India’s fourth highest award.