Peace Grove (Shantikunj) is a haven for Lumbini girls who would otherwise be married as young as 10 years of age and face a life of no education, poverty and labour, only to perpetuate this cycle.
UNICEF has identified the Lumbini area as one of the most critical zone for girls’ discrimination and child marriage problems. National education statistics report that only 33% of students in Nepal are girls. It’s even lower in the Lumbini area where the average female literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world – only 18%. Lack of female education contributes to many other problems such as lack of basic health and hygiene in families. This results in a high infant mortality rate and severe malnutrition. In the 6th century BCE, when domination and scriptural condemnation of females was at its peak, the Buddha came forward and affirmed the equal spiritual potential of women and men. This affirmation represented a significant departure from prevailing views that defined women in terms of their biological function and their capacity for productive labor.
Peace Grove Institute is established based on this noble declaration of Buddha to transform the lives of women of Lumbini with the attitude of compassion, gratitude and care.
The institute operates a residential school for eleven girls who have ordained as novice nuns for two years in order to continue their education in an environment that is socially acceptable to their families and free of charge. We hope to expand the nunnery to offer space to girls on a waiting list. We are planning a special girls college to provide further educational opportunity to complete high school education for any girl whether already married or not, but for various reasons currently not permitted to attend school. This school will offer special health education to prepare them for their future role as mothers and change-makers of their society as well as offer additional vocational training so that they may get jobs or otherwise be able to generate income for themselves and their family. We have purchased and prepared the land for this facility and are looking for funding to start construction
We are also working towards starting a Computer Training Centre for the community and a Children’s Library.