all the women have been living in temporary, unprotected residence
halls with meager study facilities, without electricity and with
water from a nearby stream. Now Pema Choling has entered an exciting
and crucial phase of development.
Construction of a new and much needed residence hall and classrooms
began shortly after groundbreaking ceremonies in October of 2005.
Immediate plans include facilities for 100 women eventually to
expand to accommodate 500. The women and girls of PCL, working
alongside a crew of 30 workers from a vocational training school
in Thimphu (Bhutan’s capital), have been able to build nearly
half of a proposed quad with dorm rooms upstairs and study facilities
have learnt basic carpentry, made the mud bricks and provide the
physical labour for the construction as well as being responsible
for managing the project. All the while they are continuing their
rigorous studies and running the center. Although the plumbing
and the kitchen are still incomplete, 35 women have been able
to move in. But funding has run out, construction
has stopped and the remaining residents are still housed in temporary
The work crew
from the training school is using this project as field work and
therefore must be employed consistently. (The women at PCL build
as part of their participation at the center and receive no salary).
Due to the remoteness and mostly rural nature of Bhutan, materials
are scarce, costly and must be trucked in from a great distance.
As there is no electricity or heavy equipment, all construction
is done with hand tools, highly skilled labor and a powerful commitment.
With these varied conditions, the building
can only go forward to completion with an influx of sustained