On 23 January (2014) I met with the Women for Women committee
established by Moti Lal Yadav to administer the funds donated by Australian meditators.
There were nine of us: Moti Lal; his teacher, Guruma, head of the Gotami Nun’s Temple in the Monastic Zone of Lumbini; three nuns from this Temple; Rekha, one of the teachers from the school described in earlier reports, another lay man from Lumbini and myself. We sat at the edge of the ornamental pool and talked about the wisest use of the money.
Since the first dana was offered for this project, the school has increased the number of girls who get scholarships to thirty. After a long period of community consultation, fifteen girls have been identified in surrounding villages who are interested in participating in a program to learn sewing skills which will allow them to earn some income.
The committee also identified the following as schemes to be put in place:
- offering more scholarships to girls to attend school;
- enabling those girls who’ve finished at the school to attend post-primary schools nearby by offering them scholarship support and
- by buying bicycles for them;
- a visit to girls already attending secondary school in Butwal to encourage the local girls to take this step;
- and a retreat for girls to be offered by Guruma.
Because of the generosity of several Australian meditators, the Committee currently has enough resources to achieve these objectives. So far, progress has been slow, at least in part because of the need for ongoing community consultation to gauge needs and the best way to proceed. I am sure that I (and others) will be happy to continue supporting these projects once these objectives had been realised. I’m looking forward to seeing what has been done.
Below are some photos taken in April and May, 2014 of the girls and young women involved activities supported by donations to the Women for Women Committee: in the sewing program, on a five day retreat and at school.