Every year women ranging from professionals to housewives get together as volunteers in Thimphu, Bhutan, to raise funds for a nunnery in a valley far from the city. They collect donations, organize monsoon balls, sell lottery tickets, and write about the life and hardships faced by the nuns who reside there. Thanks to their diligent efforts, conditions in the nunnery have improved in recent years: A new housing facility has been built, and the nuns are provided with warm clothes and proper food.
Viewed through different lenses, the women’s work appears either as a Buddhist act known as jimba or a secular act of public service. Reflecting on these alternate names for a common work inspires hope for a new approach to mobilizing human resources to meet the needs of a suffering humanity, not only in Bhutan but throughout the world.