India: Tibetan Nuns Project

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind (India - Tibetan)Publication


Translation: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind


Tibetan and English

Our Bodies, Ourselves Project

The Tibetan adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” was published as a two-volume set in 2005. An English translation followed in 2007.

The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword (in English), affirming the book’s value from a health and cultural standpoint.

The text addresses the needs of Tibetan nun refugees in India, with substantial original content on such topics as hygiene, nutrition, pregnancy and childbirth, domestic violence and specific occupational hazards faced by Tibetan women living in exile.

It draws from another known resource, “Where Women Have No Doctor,” published by the Hesperian Foundation in the United States.

The initial impetus for a Tibetan adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” came from a lack of comprehensive reproductive health information among Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Dharamshala, located in the foothills of the Himalayas and home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.

The book was ultimately developed for all Tibetan and ethnically Tibetan women in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet, after OBOS colleague Marlies Bosch facilitated a series of workshops with the nuns on body awareness and the most pressing issues faced by their community. The Global Fund for Women provided support.

In 2007, the OBOS Global Initiative conducted a pilot evaluation to understand the book’s impact in Dharamshala and Ladakh (situated in the northern most corner of the Indian sub-continent, between Pakistan and Tibet). Using a range of evaluation and interview tools, this assessment provided a critical understanding of the process used to develop the book, and its reach and use in some of the most remote regions of the world. Please contact OBOGI program staff for more information.

How to Obtain Copies

For information on obtaining copies of the Tibetan adaptation, please contact the Tibetan Nuns Project:

Content Available Online

Read the foreword (in English)

Read the preface (in English)

Community Action & Activism

The Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP) has served the Tibetan community exiled in India for more than two decades. Tibetans have been fleeing their homeland since Chinese occupation in 1959. Today, there are an estimated 130,000 Tibetans living in exile around the world, roughly 85,000 of which live in India among 35 official Tibetan settlements.

TNP provides support services designed to educate, empower and improve their health, economic and social status. TNP also runs a highly successful sponsorship initiative with a global donor base that supports more than 700 Tibetan nuns.

The Tibetan adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” is a key information tool, used by TNP and local allies in health trainings at nunneries, schools, hospitals, community health centers, women’s organizations, and religious and political groups across the region. This ranges from organizations that serve poor/displaced women in slums, to those that train young women to become home-care attendants.

In 2014, hundreds of copies of the Tibetan and English “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” were distributed to remote nunneries in Zangskar, in Ladakh. TNP also organized workshops on sexuality and celibacy for nuns in the community, to equip them with information and skills in response to rising rates of sexual violence.

Buddhist monks in India reading “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind"

Buddhist monks in India reading “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.” / Photo: Marlies Bosch

“Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” has been a vital educational tool in these conversations; most of the participants started their journey with the nunneries as 5-year-olds and have lacked access to evidence-based information on their health and human rights.

Lobsang Dechen Tibetan Nuns Project

Lobsang Dechen, project coordinator

Contact Information

Tibetan Nuns Project
Email: Lobsang Dechen / Dolma Tsering:
Address: Dolma Ling Nunnery, PO Sidhpur 176057, Dist. Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India
Phone: 91-1892-246419 / 91-1892-246715
Fax: 91-1892-246413

U.S. Office
Address: 815 Seattle Boulevard South #216, Seattle, WA 98134
Phone: (206) 652-8901