Members of the Zangskar Nuns Association undertake various projects to improve their nunneries when funding and/or supplies are available. These projects aim to improve the nuns' standard of living and health, and ultimately allow them more time to engage in prayer, ritual activity and studies. Recent and future projects include:
Greenhouses - Greenhouses enable the nuns to grow much needed vegetables in the early spring before the fields have thawed and when their diet and nutrition is especially poor. Roads are closed to vehicular traffic during the winter, leaving the shelves in stores barren and medicinal supplies often exhausted, resulting in anemia and other ailments. Some nunneries are building passive solar greenhouses that will be warm enough to grow vegetables year round.
Water Storage Tanks - Storage units facilitate the storage of drinking water in summer and winter. In Zangskar drinking water supplies are often irregular and/or contaminated. Water is especially hard to obtain in winter when all sources are frozen.
Passive Solar Water Houses - These passive solar buildings are used to house the pipes and water storage tanks to reduce hardships from frozen water in the winter.
Passive Solar Classrooms - These classrooms have large windows, often angled, to maximize the use of winter sunlight and warmth, when existing rooms are too cold and inefficient for study in winter.
Compost Toilets - Traditional compost toilets are built to decompose human waste matter and provide a much needed source of biomass for the local gardens and orchards.
Washrooms - The inclusion of a bathing room with piped water is a very recent addition to the traditional Zangskari lifestyle.
Donations of environmentally-friendly equipment include:
"Smokeless" Stoves - These dung-burning stoves substantially reduce the amount of smoke in the communal kitchens and residential cells. Cow dung is the most popular fuel in Zangskar, which is a desert region where trees are only planted to provide construction material or animal fodder.
Solar Cookers - Solar cooking units help reduce dependence on and expense of fuel.
Solar Panels and Solar Lanterns - Solar-powered lighting is extremely helpful in Zangskar as some of the nunneries do not have any electricity and those who do are subject to outages or limited daily hours for the supply. Solar power also reduces costs for batteries or fuel for other lighting.
Passive Solar Water House
Photos of many of these projects can be seen
on the individual nunneries Photo pages.
Your Help is Essential
None of the projects described here could be completed without the generosity of donors worldwide. If you would like to help the Zangskari nuns improve their standard of living and Buddhist education, please visit our Donate page.
2010 Project Accomplishments
2009 Project Accomplishments
2007 Survey and Needs Assessment