Thimphu, BHUTAN – "There was a time when I would be menstruating and didn’t know what to do during those days… Now I do.” These candid reflections came from an unexpected source: a nun sitting cross-legged on the floor of an astrology college in the capital of Bhutan. 

She was part of a delegation of nuns and monks – known locally as Anims and Lopens Gelongs – meeting with UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem to speak about their work destigmatizing sexual and reproductive health in their communities. 

The Buddhist leaders spoke about the importance of these lessons, both for their communities and for themselves. 

“We didn’t know the meaning of sexuality. We didn’t know how to deal with it. It’s taken us a while to understand that different people have different needs,” one said.

These messages are life-saving. “We feel like we understand complexities about our bodies, about other people,” said another. “I was able to speak to a fellow student who was troubled; I was able to stop him from killing himself.”

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