Supporting the Children at Pema T’sal Monastery
Who are they?
Boys from rural areas of Nepal are brought to the Pema T’sal Monastery when they are very young by their parents or guardians. Once they are accepted into the monastery, they can rarely see their parents except for special occasions such as New Year’s Day. Not many children get to enjoy such visits due to economic hardship or some other family problems. So, some children go several years without seeing their parents. Currently 150 boys including resident staff are living in the temple.
Our Support Through the Years
Kyung’s daughter Haeyoon Shin performed two benefit concerts to raise money for a large water filter for the monastery. Clean water can be very difficult to access in Nepal and monastery boys frequently suffered from gastrointestinal infections in the summer months. The principal of Pema T’sal Institute reported that illnesses reduced dramatically after the installation of the water filter. With leftover funds, a few new bicycles were purchased and donated to the young monks. There was a long line of boys waiting for their turn to ride a bicycle, with the older boys teaching the younger ones how to ride them.
To encourage the boys to cultivate self-confidence and improve their writing and drawing skills, Sharing Hearts in Nepal held a writing/drawing competition. All participants received a small amount of pocket money while the winners of the contest received a bigger monetary prize.
In partnership with Bastyr University’s student council, Sharing Hearts in Nepal held another benefit concert. Kyung’s daughter, son, Dongbin Shin, and their musician friends performed in the Bastyr university chapel. Proceeds from the event covered all costs associated with the acupuncture clinic that year. Additional funds raised went to the purchase of refrigerators, dishes, clothes and toiletries for the Pema T’sal monastery.
Like the previous year, SHIN’s fundraising efforts were again able to cover the cost of the Nepal acupuncture trip. Additional funds were used to purchase 87 brand new blankets for the boys and gas burners and cooktops for the monastery kitchen.
One of our board members, Jeffrey Wong, his sister Ariana, and his mother, Helen, graciously donated funds for the monastery to build a dedicated school building and a library for the boys to study and attend classes. A large, new kitchen was also constructed. Previously, the kitchen and dining room were small, and the boys had to rush through meals in shifts. In this new space, boys can eat together, and they no longer have to eat in a hurry to make room for the next group.
New Building (New Kitchen and Library)
Since 2019, Sharing Hearts in Nepal has sponsored a nurse to care for the monastery boys. Having a resident nurse in the monastery was critical for providing urgent care when needed with limited funds. The boys often get injured in the playground, with no access to doctors. Mukhui Brathwaite, one of our donors, began to provide a nurse’s monthly wage so that the boys could always get quick treatment in the event of an injury and regular checkups. Since 2021, our Vice President Jeffrey Wong has personally supported the nurse’s monthly wage.
Since 2015, the monastery boys have received one egg, twice a week from Sharing Hearts in Nepal. As an immediate corrective measure, one egg a day would at least provide them with a sufficient amount of protein they need to stay healthy. The children also receive pocket money for Christmas and New Year’s Day, which is the time when they miss their parents the most. Receiving this pocket money, they feel loved and cared for.
What is still needed?
Due to COVID-19 and the recent economic downturn as well as massive flooding in rural Nepal, Pema T’sal monastery recently adopted 20 additional children from a nearby temple that was forced to close. Because of this, our egg budget is currently stretched thin.
The boys need warm clothes to protect them from the harsh, cold air in the Himalayas. Shoes are also high priority items as the boys grow out of them so quickly.
3. Warm blankets:
The newcomers mentioned above and college-aged boys are still in need of blankets.
4. Medical supplies:
First aid kits, basic hygienic items, and over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol, analgesic, and antipyretics that could help the children in cases of emergency.
5. Sponsor a child:
Pema T’sal Monastery boys participate in some religious activities for villagers and foreigners, which provides income to the monastery. However, it is rarely enough to feed 150 boys. The main source of income is from donations from foreigners worldwide in the form of sponsorships. Many boys have sponsors, but some newly admitted ones do not. Once a boy is chosen by a sponsor, he and the sponsor will exchange photos with one another. The boy writes letters to the sponsor and the sponsor may send pocket money or gifts to the sponsored child on his birthday or on holidays. The children in the pictures are waiting for sponsors. It costs $500.00 per year to sponsor one child.
6. Monastery Repairs:
The main building of Pema T’sal is twenty years old and infested with mold. The monastery staff are currently requesting funds to cover mold remediation and repainting. In our acupuncture clinics at the monastery, boys often report wheezing, coughing, skin irritation or rash, and nasal and sinus congestion, which could all be symptoms of mold exposure from the mold in their dormitories and classrooms.
Activities with the boys