This is very sad news, from a press release just sent out by the 2010 Buddhist Women’s Conference Committee. The Tibet Girls School, the recipient of this year’s Women and Engaged Buddhism Award, has been destroyed in the earthquake that struck the Himalayan region of Eastern Tibet earlier today.
From the release (and please note the information for the relief fund that has been set up):
Evanston, IL – An earthquake reported at a magnitude of 6.9 hit Yushu county high in the Himalayas of Eastern Tibet on the morning of April 14 th. The powerful quake killed at least 400 people, injured 10,000 and left many others buried under debris. Tibet Girls School founder and executive director, Asang, has learned not only that he has lost family members in the disaster, but that the school was destroyed and several students are dead or missing.
The urgent priority now is to raise money to help care for survivors and rebuild their homes and schools. Donations can be made on the web site for Tsogyaling Meditation Center of Evanston and Tibet Girls School at www.evanstonmeditation.org. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law and 100% of funds collected will go to rebuilding in Tibet. Checks can also be made out to “Tsogyaling Meditation Center” and mailed to Tibet Girls School, c/o Heartwood Center, 1599 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201.
Home to Nomad yak herding and farming families, this remote mountainous region is where Asang calls home. Asang escaped from Tibet shortly after his sister and her baby died during delivery. Along with his wife, Nancy Floy, the school was meant to honor his sister and all the women at risk by offering the key to health and opportunity: education. As survival has now become the more critical need, the school’s board of directors and the community will be putting all of their efforts toward rebuilding homes and lives in Eastern Tibet.
Tibetan women in this area—also called the Nangchen region—typically have as many as six to 10 children, yet the region has one of the highest mortality rates for infants and mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. Education is the key to health and opportunity. While rebuilding homes and lives is critical right now, the goal will be to reopen the school and provide girls with these opportunities which will be needed more than ever. In just two short years, students at Tibet Girls School were reading and writing and planning careers in business, teaching and medicine.