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Projects - Overview
Current/Future Projects
2010 Project Accomplishments
2009 Project Accomplishments
2007 Survey and Needs Assessment


2009 Project Accomplishments

Based on the demands for lighting expressed in previous surveys, nine of ten nunneries received an Indian-made solar lantern. Two of ten nunneries, Karsha and Pishu, received solar cookers, which save the nuns considerable cooking fuel costs.


Greenhouse at Sani

With some help from a Ladakhi NGO, LEHO (Ladakh Environmental Health Organization), the Sani nuns began constructing a passive solar greenhouse that will be warm enough to grow vegetables year round. This design has been developed specifically for the trans-Himalayan region, using appropriate technologies that maximize local skills and local materials. LEHO donated two windows and a door for the greenhouse and has provided critical design assistance. When completed, the greenhouse will be one of few that can support crops throughout the harshest winter months when nighttime temperatures drop to minus 40 degrees Centigrade. Eventually, the plan is to grow enough vegetables and learn dehydration techniques so the nuns can produce enough food to fulfill their communal summer and winter consumption. Moreover, if the dehydration and winter crops prove successful, this could be an income generating scheme for the nuns. Last but not least, the production of vegetables could be linked to broader public health awareness as studies have linked the extreme shortage of vegetables in the winter diet to the rise of infant, neonatal, and perinatal mortality in winter months.


Kitchen Remodeled at Skyagam

The 17 nuns at Skyagam, aged 15 to 45, repaired their kitchen after one of the ceiling beams collapsed. The new kitchen was made more spacious and with larger windows.


Passive Solar Water House at Karsha

The 19 nuns of Karsha, aged 10 to 78, expressed a clear and consistent preference for increasing the year-round reliability of their drinking and irrigation water. While the government has been working on providing this water for more than a decade, their efforts have been hampered by poor design, shoddy implementation, and frequent graft. In 2008, John Huizinga was able to assist and instruct the nuns in building an insulated roof for the water storage tank at the head of the village watershed, which feeds into a buried pipe that leads to the cliff on which the nunnery is housed. The nuns also helped repair the cracks in the government supplied water tank from which they and the village receive their drinking water. In the winter of 2008, the only way the nuns secured running water all winter was to light a small fire under the water pipe each night, which was tended by nuns, turn by turn, through the winter. The construction of a passive solar building to house the pipe and a storage tank at the nunnery should obviate these hardships. The passive solar water house is modeled on the three similar houses that were built at the monastery and village of Karsha for similar purposes. In each case, the house is built with double walls, using insulation material between the walls, while the water tank is bermed into the hillside to preserve thermal mass as much as possible.


Plantation Fencing at Tungri

The 10 Tungri nuns, aged 20 to 75, repaired with wire fencing three existing walls and constructed a fourth wall around a small poplar and willow plantation on one of their village fields.


Plantation Fencing at Dorje Dzong

The 7 nuns of Dorje Dzong, aged 35 to 77, developed a larger plantation that will include both willow saplings as well as a number of small fields currently planted with potatoes, turnips, and other hardy crops. The nuns purchased roughly 400 feet of fencing material and transported the fencing to their village where it was installed around their fields. The plantation should provide the needed wooden beams and roofing materials in the future for the nunnery as well as for donation or reduced sale to other nunneries that are contemplating construction projects.


Washroom/Toilet at Manda

At Manda, the 8 resident nuns, who are aged 15 to 30, built a collective washroom and compost toilet using mostly local materials - rock and mud mortar- as well as a cement wash for the bathroom floor and walls.

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