A total of 500 Buddhist nuns pedaled for 4 thousand kilometers across the Himalayas between Nepal and India to draw attention to human trafficking in the region.
Jigme Konchok Lhamo, a 22 year old nun,
explains: "While last year we were helping relief to earthquake victims
in Nepal, we learned of many poor girls being sold by their own parents
because to help the family survive . We want to do something to change
the mentality that considers women inferior to men. This mountain hike
shows that women have the same power and strength as men”.
The trip started in Kathmandu and ended in the city of Leh, in
northern India. The nuns belong to the Drukpa lineage - one of the
"modern" schools of Tibetan Buddhism - and are expert in martial arts.
Their skill has earned them the nickname "Kung Fu nuns" and they live
mainly in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
Throwing off their monastic robes and donning sneakers and cycling
helmets for their fourth major hike. Along the way they met the local
people, government officials, religious leaders and spoke of gender
equality, peaceful coexistence and respect for the environment.
The nuns distributed food to the poor and medical care to villagers.
They were joined by Gyalwang Drukpa, the 12th head of the order. Jigme
Pema Wangchen reformed the movement, inspiring the revaluation of nuns.
Before the reform, they were intended for the most menial jobs and were
beaten and threatened by male monks. Gyalwang Drukpa gave them
leadership roles and introduced courses of Kung Fu, so that women could
learn to protect themselves.
Thanks to him, in the last 12 years the number of nuns has increased
from 30 to 500 and are active in the spread of values such as gender
equality. They are fighting for women in Nepal who are sold as sex
slaves by unscrupulous traffickers, attracted by the illusion of
well-paying jobs, but then forced to sell their bodies in brothels and
The earthquake of April 25, 2015 resulted in about 9 thousand victims
and left almost 40 thousand children without parents. They, too, are
likely to fall into the hands of traffickers, often disguised as holy
men and benefactors.
Nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo says: "People think that we have to be locked
up in the temple and pray all the time, since we are nuns. But prayer
is not enough. The Gyalwang Drukpa teaches us that we must go out and
put our prayers into practice. After all, actions speak louder than