SIKKIM PROJECT Sponsorship project for orphaned children and new monastery
Shurishing Yungdrung Kundrakling monastery in Sikkim Province, India, is home to 35 children and adolescents. Most are between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. The children all come from the Himalayan region; most of them are orphans or with only one parent and others are from socially deprived backgrounds. The boys were brought to the monastery so that they would have a home. Some have no relatives and are totally dependent on Khenpo Gyatso Yongten. Khenpo Gyatso Rinpoche Yongten comes from Tibet / Kham and is the spiritual leader of the Bon (1) monastery in South Sikkim. His life is constantly plagued by financial worries, and he is unable to pay all expenses for the children. Especially when it comes to medical emergencies, the situation is very difficult. In addition to his duties to these children, he has plans in West Sikkim to build a second monastery. Here, there are 80 impoverished families that have no possiblity of receiving spiritual or other assistance, as well as many children who rely on their entrance into a monastery to find a home.
In the Shurishing Yungdrung Kundrakling monastery there are two other senior monks. One, Tenzin Tenpa, is a teacher and teaches the children in the Tibetan language and writing. For primary school education in other subjects, a teacher comes from the village to the monastery. The Abbot General, Geshe Nima Senge, comes fromNepal and has lived for 20 years in the monastery inSikkim
Heidy Muller, fromSwitzerland, has been helping these children for six years, on her own time and money that she can collect from friends. In the spring of 2012, she spent several weeks at the Shurishing Yungdrung Kundrakling monastery. From the first moment she felt at home there. During her stay at the monastery, she supplied many children every day with treatments for festering wounds, sprains, colds, etc. She quickly became as family to all the monks living there and will do everything as quickly as possible to provide assistance to them. The most important thing for Heidy was that she could see that the children are treated well there. Khenpo Gyatso Rinpoche treats the children like a loving father.
So much is lacking. Some of the children did not even have a pair of warm socks. Thanks to donations fromSwitzerland, raised single-handedly by Heidy herself, and a little shopping in the village a few kilometers away from the monastery, some of these needs were met. The clothes and toys that Heidy brought in her baggage caused great pleasure. On the basis of rules by the airlines, she was allowed to carry only23 kg – which is very little – and oexcess baggage costs are prohibitive. The children were overjoyed as well to receive two official soccer balls and pennants from the central Swiss Football Association and accepted them with shining, proud eyes.
We are now looking for people to support these children with regular contributions, or even with a financial donation. With 60US$ month, the education, clothing, food and basic medical care is assured. We are also collecting money to help build a new monastery – the land on which the new monastery is to be built was made available for free by the population living there.
(1) Bon is the oldest religion of Tibet – and Buddhism are very similar
Photos courtesy Heidy Muller