Kung-Fu Nuns: The Unsung Heroes
Women around the world have made quite a lot of headway in gaining rights and achieving equality in the past century. One of the biggest examples of this would be The Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas from the Drukpa lineage who are changing and challenging norms led by their leader, His Holiness, the Gyalwang Drupka.
In the Himalayas, women and nuns were considered second-class citizens for the longest period of time and therefore, their sole duty is considered to be towards the household and to serve the monks. It is believed that by doing this, there is a chance that they would reincarnate as a monk.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa had learned the values of equality from his mother while growing up and therefore, he was never adamant on their age-old beliefs. In fact, he decided to empower the nuns in the nunnery by giving them main positions along with a chance to handle their own offices.
Since the concept of empowering nuns was new and it was the first time that something like this had happened, the community intervened. The nuns had to face a lot of backlashes, they also received a lot of threats and this made it unsafe for them to step out in the community. This was when they collectively made a decision to learn Kung Fu as a means of self-defense; and also, to develop physical and mental stability and strength.
It has been thirteen years since the glorious decision was taken and the nuns have since, gone through rigorous training for Kung Fu every day along with which, they spend their time championing and preaching values like gender equality, physical fitness, environmentally-friendly ways of living, and respect for all living beings. They all also share a common goal which is, to help others in need.
The nuns have contributed a lot through the years, in fact, when the disastrous earthquake struck in Nepal in 2015, the nuns travelled to help out the community. They helped save families and rescued animals all around the country during testing times. They helped re-build several homes for the victims of the earthquakes.
Alas, this was also when they witnessed the social evil of human trafficking in action. They realized that a lot of women were being trafficked mainly because of the economic and physical instability caused by the earthquake. This is when they decided that something had to be done and so, they cycled from Kathmandu to Ladakh to teach people to be kinder to mother earth and inculcate the values of equality and how daughters are essential and worth holding onto. Their aim was to spread awareness amongst people to eradicate this social evil, right from the roots.
They ended up cycling 4500 kilometres in 3 months through all sorts of weather to inculcate these values and spread awareness amongst the masses.
They are known for these cycling expeditions which they call the ‘Cycle yatras’. They have travelled to various places in and out of the Himalayas. Along with spreading their beliefs, they organized self-defence training which ranges from about 1-7 days.
They have also done a lot of hard work during the testing times brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic. They have already helped about 2000 families along with rescuing and providing aid to about 800 animals weekly.
Along with this, they have stitched masks and given safety demos to people to teach them about the health and sanitation requirements to survive through the pandemic.
These amazing women have been honored with many awards for their bravery including the Asia society’s game changers award in 2019 and the Atlantic Council’s Unsung Heroes Award in 2020. Their work has inspired many men and women worldwide to break out of their shells and help others.
We at TheVibe, bend our heads in respect and salute the nuns for everything that they have done and continue to do in order to make the world a better place for all of us.
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