Something special is happening in Thailand. Over 400 girls are blossoming like beautiful lotuses at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School -- the first Buddhist boarding school for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.
In Thailand, boys who are poor or orphaned can go to a temple as a novice monk and receive an education. This has not been the case for girls. Seeing this inequality, Dhammajarinee Witthaya School was founded by Buddhist nuns as the first Buddhist boarding school for girls in the country. It is also the only free, Buddhist boarding school -- girls come from different provinces all over Thailand, from poor families, broken homes or as orphans.
Girls are the future of every nation. It has been well documented all over the world that when you educate girls, they achieve a higher standard of living and better health. They improve the quality of life in their villages, and their children are healthier and more educated. These girls also go on to impart the importance of respecting others, particularly women.
Unfortunately, in many countries including Thailand, especially in poverty stricken areas, young girls are extremely vulnerable to AIDS, drug abuse, violence and exploitation. The Dhammajarinee Witthaya school provides a safe haven for these girls, as well as a quality education.
By providing a rigorous modern academic curriculum along with Buddhist teachings, the school helps girls to lead better lives, and become the future leaders of their communities. Because many of the students have suffered past trauma, the school also includes yoga and transcendental meditation as part of the daily routine, to reduce stress.
Acharn Yai, a Buddhist nun and principal of the school, says, "The students learn TM at the beginning of the semester when the new students arrive. Coming from different places, their behavior was quite aggressive and they didn't pay attention to their studies that much.
"After learning transcendental meditation, they become more calm and settled. Their aggressive behavior decreases, their grades go up; they pay more attention to whatever we teach them. When they have inner happiness, they soak up whatever knowledge we give, unlike before."
It is beautiful to know that these young precious flowers of Thailand are blossoming into the fullness of who they are, and becoming enlightened leaders for their communities, Thailand, and the world.