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Profiles from Nepal: Thupten Dheden

Twenty year old Thupten Dheden - the leader for the Aani (nuns) from the nunnery at Ghanghyul, Helambu - talks to Aythos staff Shanti and expresses her great desire of learning to use a computer and the reasons why.

Aani Dheden was born and brought up in one of the villages of Rasuwa district. She has her mom, dad and four other younger siblings in her family. She was living a normal life like other kids until age 10. Her journey to become a nun started at the young age of 11. One day she saw a monk in her village that was wearing a red dress and had a bald head. The moment she saw him, she immediately thought of wearing such a dress and becoming a nun. She asked her family to let her go and become a nun. Her family allowed her to become a nun with the belief that anyone who would become a nun would earn blessings from God for this life and after death too.

Aani Dheden looks back to her childhood days and says that she still doesn’t have any idea what influenced her the most to become a nun other than the costumes that the monk had worn; but now looking at the present she thinks that she did the right thing by becoming a nun. She likes the philosophy of simple living and deep thinking. It is not a big surprise for any nuns to believe this philosophy of simple living and deep thinking. But, it would definitely be a big surprise for any normal people to think about how the nuns live their life beyond the limited sources around them.

Aani Dheden explains how the nuns in the nunnery live their life. She said that she, along with the other 16 nuns, depend on their head monk for their daily livelihood. The head monk manages food and clothes for all of the nuns in the nunnery. This makes Aani Dheden feel bad as she feels that she isn’t being helpful enough to the Head monk for managing the necessary elements of their daily life.

Aani Dheden wants to be an independent nun. She likes to make money on her own and help the Head Monk to run the nunnery. She wants to learn more and be a teacher to teach the rest of the current and future nuns. She wants to learn to use a computer and the internet and be able to fundraise for the nunnery through the internet. She believes that the internet has globalized the world and has the greatest power to connect the people of the whole world.

Aani Dheden has the dream of seeing each nun become an independent person and helping the Head Monk to run the nunnery for the long run. That is why she, as a leader of the nunnery, encouraged and motivated the other nuns to learn the skills of making jewelry at the training sponsored by Aythos with Samantha from EVON, a wonderful organization we work with often. She is determined to continue to attend these kinds of trainings, which aim to improve their livelihood and help make the nuns more independent. Aythos works to help the women like Aani Dheden to improve their standard of living with such livelihood projects.

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