Meeto Memorial Awards 2013

 

The Meeto Memorial Award for Young South Asians 2013 to celebrate Social Commitment, was given to Ani Choying, a Buddhist Nun, Singer and social activist from Nepal for her amazing contribution to peace , harmony, gender equality and to women’s empowerment. Ani Choying Drolma, is a Buddhist nun and musician from Nepal. An exceptional singer, she uses her music for peace, harmony and gender equality. People are moved by the plaintive purity of her voice, and the haunting melodies of her ancient songs and hymns. All of the money raised through Ani Choying's performances and record sales go directly to the Nuns Welfare Foundation and many of her other social development initiatives. Ani Choying was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of N-Peace Network 2012 to support women peace and security. She is a Patron for Rollback Violence Campaign Nepal, a Cultural Ambassador for World View Nepal with the objective of playing a participatory role in the sustainable development of Nepal in addition to several awards and recognition for her music and contribution to society. She entered monastic life as a means of escape from her physically abusive father, and she was accepted into the Nagi Gompa nunnery at the age of 13. For a number of years, the monastery's resident chant master (who was trained directly by the wife of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche) taught Ani Choying the music that she is famous for performing. Ani Choying has always believed that nuns have a great desire and potential to make the world a better place, if only given equal opportunities. Arya Tara School, the flagship project of Nuns Welfare Foundation opened in 2000, aims to equip nuns to help and to serve their communities in a professional and humanitarian capacity. With a fully developed and realized potential, she believes that her nuns will be able to not only help themselves, but also to help others. Traditionally, says Ani Choying, women’s education is neglected in Asia, “most of the girls at my nunnery are from rural areas either in Tibet, India or Nepal, patriarchal cultures where women are expected just to cook, clean and bear children. Even in the nunnery, they are taught to read classical Tibetan in order to do the religious practice, but many cannot write their own names.” Her school educates them in Literacy, Maths, Science, Medical and Nursing skills, and Buddhist philosophy. Ani Choying Drolma and a transplant surgeon Dr. Pukar Shrestha also established a foundation called Aarogya Foundation – a Kidney Hospital, its main goal is to help save the lives of patients suffering from organ failure, largely resulting from kidney disease where quality dialysis and kidney transplants can be offered at affordable costs. For her initiative Ani Choying was declared as the Ambassador of World Kidney Day in the first ever launched ‘World Kidney Day’ celebrated in Nepal on the 8th of March 2006. Ani Choying moved by the plight of abandoned elderly women initiated Aama ko Ghar a project of the Nuns’ Welfare Foundation of Nepal. It offers a home to mothers who have been abandoned by their families. Ani Choying says, “It is amazing that anyone could abandon their own mother. We will all grow old, and at that time in our life we need the love and support of our families the most.” The great loss Ani Choying felt with the passing of her own mother is now filled with the love she receives from the 27 elderly women currently living at Aama Ko Ghar (Mother's Home). The name “Aama Ko Ghar” (Mothers’ Home) was coined by Ani Choying Dolma, to reflect the emotions, sentiments, and soul of its residents. Ani Choying has also involved herself in providing clean drinking water, bio gas production and the care of street dogs in Kathmandu. 2014 The Meeto Memorial Award for 2014 was a contribution to a book edited by Kamla Bhasin on the lives of women and men activists working at Jagori Grameen. The book called “Sach Hote Sapno ka Safar” gives us the stories of the lives of young activists who have strong convictions and are working tirelessly in Siddhbari in Himachal Pradesh. It is also a testament to what these young but spirited individuals have overcome to work in what they believe in. The book was released in the same ceremony in Nepal which also honoured Ani Choying in Nepal. The members of the audience included women- young and old who had spent their life in the pursuit of gender justice from different South Asian countries. Ani Choying the Recipient of the Meeto Memorial Award in 2013 performed her beautiful and moving music on the occasion. She was not able to come herself collect the award in 2013, however since she was in Nepal at the time; she was given the award in the ceremony held in 2014. It was a wonderful celebration as five women from five different South Asian countries, also members of the Sangat Core Group, who themselves symbolize the qualities and the principles that the award stands for, presented Ani Choying with the award. Her tribute to Meeto is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7wNfn3exk