By Rosalind Duane
The sister-in-law of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, will be in town next week to speak at a fundraiser.
The event will focus on the plight of Tibetan nuns who have fled persecution in their homeland.
Rinchen Khando Choegyal is married to the youngest brother of the Dalai Lama, and is the director of the Nuns Project, an organization that seeks to support and improve the situation of Tibetan nuns.
The group was formed in 1991 when nearly 100 nuns from Tibet arrived in India with no resources.
At the time, Choegyal was president of the Tibetan Women’s Association, a group that assisted Tibetan women in exile. She helped provide food and shelter to the refugees and went on to form two nunneries with the aim of providing higher education for all women in the area.
In the last few years, more than 600 nuns have arrived in India seeking religious freedom and education. Their escape usually involves months of walking across snow-covered mountains.
In 1949, China invaded Tibet and has since seized full control of it, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile in India.
Choegyal moved to India with her family following a mass exodus from Tibet in 1959.
She graduated from college with a degree in child psychology and education, and went on to become the second woman in the history of Tibet to be elected as a cabinet minister. She served that position with the government in exile until 2001.
During her presentation, Choegyal will discuss the condition of nuns in Tibet and her vision of religious education for Tibetan women.
Also scheduled to speak is Dr. E. Napper, a renowned Buddhist scholar and author, who has taught Tibetan Buddhist studies at UBC.
Buddhist art by Kalsang Dawa and Scott Plumbe will also be on display.
Spirit in Exile: Tibetan Nuns Project Fundraiser takes place at North Shore Unitarian Church on May 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the church or by calling Diane Noble at 604-922-5339.
A shuttle from the Park Royal bus stop to the church will also be available on the night of the event. Call the above number to book a ride.