These nuns have broken every stereotypes that we generally associate with them. Like many associate them clad in black or white and showcasing their calm and tranquil attitude to the world, in this case, they are setting the trend by cycling through rugged terrains of the Himalayas.
Wearing sweatpants and jackets, 500 nuns pedalled all their way through the treacherous steep of the Himalayas from Nepal to India.
The Buddhist nuns from the sect known as Drukpa Order — belonging from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet — completed their 4,000-km bicycle trek from Nepal’s Kathmandu to India’s Leh on Saturday to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote region.
In an interview given to Thomson Reuters Foundation, 22-year-old nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo, “When we were doing relief work in Nepal after the earthquakes last year, we heard how girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore.”
“We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it’s okay to sell them,” she said, adding that the bicycle trek shows “women have power and strength like men.”
In South Asian countries many women leave in the fear of violence without any basic human rights. Honour killing, female foeticides, child marriage, there are many such evils that grip the countries like India, Pakistan and Nepal. These nuns are creating awareness on such evils and trying to bring about a slow change towards betterment of the society.
Gangs fool helpless poor villagers into bonded labour or rent them to work as slaves in urban homes, restaurants, shops and hotels. Many girls and women are sold into brothels.
However, a trek like this is nothing new for the Drukpa nuns. This is in fact their fourth journey in which travel together meeting local people, government officials and religious leaders to spread messages of gender equality, peaceful coexistence and respect for the environment.
Experts are of the opinion that post-disaster trafficking has become common in South Asia as an increase in extreme events caused by global warming, as well as earthquakes, leave the poor more vulnerable.
They are recognised by everyone as “Kung Fu Nuns” because they have formal training in martial arts. These Kung Fu nuns also deliver food to the poor and help villagers get medical attention.
Led by Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Order, these nuns are not allowed to exercise. But they are breaking the norms by indulging into this bold step.
After the Nepal earthquakes in April and May 2015, hundreds of families were left homeless and there was a major increase in children and women trafficking.