2010 conference : WEBA award
The Buddhist Council of the Midwest is pleased to announce the recipient of the
2010 Women and Engaged Buddhism Award (WEBA)
Tibet Girls School
Tibet Girls School
, A program of the Tsogyaling Meditation Center of Evanston has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Women and Engaged Buddhism Award (WEBA): The Award is sponsored by The Buddhist Council of the Midwest and will be presented at the Fifth Annual Buddhist Women's Conference, May 1, 2010 at DePaul University in Chicago.
In an ongoing effort to bring peace through education in Tibet where tensions continue to attract the world’s attention, Tsogyaling Meditation Center opened a girls school in Yushu, China, in August 2008. The vocational boarding school for Tibetan girls was founded by Asang, who left Tibet after his sister and her baby died during childbirth, and his wife, Nancy Floy, Executive Director of the Heartwood Center for Mind, Body, Spirit in Evanston. Asang had resolved to find ways to prevent other girls from suffering the same fate.
"We believe the hope for Tibet and the health and safety of Tibetan women lies in education," says Nancy. Tibetan women in the Nangchen region — who typically have six to 10 children — have one of the highest mortality rates (for infants and mothers) during pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, Tibetan women are 300 times more likely to die than women in developed countries from various pregnancy and delivery complications. The key to changing this tragic cycle and creating health and opportunity for these people is education.
Working with permission of the Chinese government, the Tibet Girls School supplies room, food, clothing and education for ten nomad girls ages 12 to 19 each year in the city of Yushu. The girls were illiterate when they first arrived. Instructors teach math, both Chinese and Tibetan reading and writing, handicrafts and business skills; they will also provide healthcare information, especially the use of birth control. The health curriculum used is a Tibetan translation of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the classic text from the Women’s Health Movement to empower girls and women.
The school was recently able to purchase 3 computers and has begun training for their use; when the young women are able, they will be employed in transcribing writings from various monasteries, in order to preserve these precious teachings. For these young women from northeastern Tibetan nomad families, whose traditional way of life is being systematically eliminated by the Chinese government, the Tibet Girls School provides a new opportunity for their families, and a model for peaceful progress.
To learn more about the program, please visit the website of Tsogyaling Meditation Center of Evanston at:
The Women and Engaged Buddhism Award is given to recognize and encourage initiatives in Engaged Buddhism by women. It is intended to nurture young or little known projects that are underway at the time of the application. This year's award carries with it a guaranteed monetary grant of $1,000.
The Buddhist Council of the Midwest’s mission is to be a vehicle of mutual aid and fellowship for Buddhist organizations throughout the Midwest, to celebrate the diversity of Buddhist philosophy and culture, and to represent and advocate for the Buddhist community in the public realm, confronting misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the Dharma and engaging in inter-religious dialogue.
Past WEBA Winners
In 2009, the WEBA was presented to Rev. Kalen McAllister, Sensei of Shinzo Sangha, St. Louis, MO, and Executive Director of Inside Dharma, to support her work offering Buddhist practice in Missouri prisons
. Honorable mention went to the Tibet Girls School Project which seeks to educate young women in the name of freedom and peace, in an area of Eastern Tibet where lack of education contributes to high rates of maternal and infant mortality.
The 2008 WEBA went to Sensei Joan Hoeberichts of the Heart Circle Sangha, Ridgewood, NJ, and Charika Marasinghe, PhD, of Sarvodaya
, Sri Lanka, for their initiative in partnering to create the Psycho-Spiritual Healing Project to train Sri Lankan counselors to provide psychological support for tsunami survivors and others needing aid. more »
The 2007 WEBA was granted to the Maekhao Chanthasomphone and Maekhao Keo for the Wat Sila Salalam Pokam school for girls, in Laos, with general recognition given to Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo and the Jamyang Foundation
for their long term commitment to address the issues of poverty, literacy, and gender discrimination in some of the neediest and most remote parts of the world. more »
In 2006 the first Women and Engaged Buddhism Award (WEBA) was presented to Venerables Molini and Dhamma Vijaya of Dhamma Moli
in recognition and encouragement of their efforts to prevent the trafficking of girls in Nepal. more »