Girls and women in Bhutan become nuns to seek a peaceful, selfless and spiritual life. They are inspired by the belief that as nuns they can contribute to the well being and happiness of all sentient beings through direct action or, at the very least, through their prayers. There are also those in the nunneries who have come purely for refuge from extreme poverty, overwhelming social challenges, loss of family and deprivation. Many have also joined and many more will continue to find their way into the nunneries in search of alternative education. While a few of them come from the middle class, the majority of them come from poor homes and receives no support of any kind from their families.
For most of Bhutan’s nuns, life is very harsh. Most nunneries are located in very remote areas. They often lack clean water, electricity, bathrooms for sanitation, and adequate nutrition in their daily meals. If a nun becomes ill, she often must hike for three hours or more to reach the nearest health center. Basic living conditions usually are very poor. Nuns often lack basic essentials, such as a dry room for sleeping and private places to study and perform daily meditation practice. The physical structures of many nunneries are seriously dilapidated and some are even structurally unsafe.