The nuns need your help

The following is a message from Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director and Elizabeth Napper, Co-Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project.

Due to rapid inflation in India, our sponsorship program is unable to keep up with the rising cost of living for the nuns. For instance, the cost of a tank of cooking gas has more than doubled in the past year, putting a huge strain on all the nunneries.

The Tibetan Nuns Project sponsorship program currently supports over 700 Tibetan Buddhist nuns living in 7 nunneries in northern India, as well as numerous nuns living on their own.

For less than $1 a day, you can help provide a nun’s basic necessities including shelter, food, education, and health care.

By becoming a sponsor you will also help:

  • Build self-sufficiency through skills training opportunities
  • Train nuns to take leadership and service roles within their communities
  • Improve the level and status of ordained Buddhist women 

100% of your sponsorship money goes directly to the nunneries in India. 

Your gifts will help nuns like Kelsang, age 78 from a village in Amdo, the eastern province of Tibet.

Here is Kelsang’s story:

My family belonged to a farming community. We grew barley, wheat, peas, buckwheat and different kinds of vegetables. We also kept yaks and sheep. Until the age of 20, I remained with my family helping them in the fields. This I guess was perhaps the best part of my life. Then the Chinese came.

During the political struggle against the Chinese occupation, my father and my older sister’s husband were arrested and imprisoned. Later both died in prison as a result of ruthless torture. My family was labeled as ‘anti-revolutionary’ and our family belongings were confiscated. My mother died under the relentless mental torture given by the enemy. Altogether, I lost 9 family members and now I am alone.

At the age of 28 I became nun. I left home and went to Labrang, which was about 2 days bus ride away. Since there was no religious freedom, I spent my life in Labrang working in the fields. From 1980 until I left for India in 1999, I stayed in a small nunnery. All the religious studies that I did at the nunnery were through listening and recitation, so I have never learned to write.

My long cherished dream was to have an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So I left Labrang, went to Lhasa, visited all the holy shrines of this holy city and then planned my escape to India.

It was a hazardous journey through the vast Tibetan plateau. We walked most of the way to the Nepal border. Due to my advanced age, the journey proved very painful. As a result of the long walk my knee has been very painful ever since. Despite my ill health and the heat in India, I am happy to be near His Holiness at Dharamsala and thankful to have a place in the nunnery with many nuns.

The younger nuns of Dolma Ling have a good opportunity to study as they have good educational facilities.  I am too old for studies so I do odd jobs for the nunnery. I used to help in the kitchen sometimes. But I have a weak knee, which gives me hard time during the monsoon and winter when it is cold, so I can’t even do work. I spend my days reading scriptures and reciting mantras.

elderly Tibetan Buddhist nun holding bell

Photo of nun at Geden Choeling Nunnery by Olivier Adam

The Tibetan Nuns Project was established in 1990 to support a tremendous influx of nuns escaping from Tibet in search of religious and educational freedom. Ranging in age from early teens to mid-80s, they come from all parts of Tibet and from many different backgrounds.  Each has her own story.

Upon arrival in India, many nuns have suffered severely from their long, arduous and often dangerous escape. In most cases, the nuns arrive without money or possessions to a community already struggling to support itself. These women wish nothing more than to live, study, practice, and teach in accordance with their spiritual beliefs.

Sponsors are the heart of our work. By helping one nun you are helping the whole community and also preserving Tibet’s culture and religion. Many of our sponsors have told us how much they value the relationship and connection.


I love my adopted nun. She writes to me. She is a part of our family now and we’re proud of her and her accomplishments. I feel like I have her on my side.

Lesliee in San Diego

By helping the Tibetan Nuns Project, I can help another woman reach for her goal of enlightenment and be an example to the world. The wisdom of Buddhism and the Tibetan people is great and should not be lost.

Karen in Las Vegas

I like sponsoring a nun. I like the feeling of connection to someone so far away who’s been through a lot and whose beliefs and practice is similar to mine. I feel like she and her family have preserved teachings for me that are important in my life.

Martha in LA


Sponsors are requested to commit to sponsoring a nun for one year.

We have four easy payment plans: monthly ($30), quarterly ($90), semi-annually ($180), and annually ($360).

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a sponsorship package that includes a photograph of the nun and information about her.

We are deeply grateful to all of our supporters who have made this program possible.  Please join our team. Here’s the link to our sponsorship page If you are unable to sponsor a nun, single gifts would also make a big impact.

Thank you for your compassion.


Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director and  Elizabeth Napper, Co-Director

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