'Kung fu nuns' on bikes swap robes for leggings to promote gender equality

Updated: Dec 24, 2017, 10:13 IST | Agencies

About 200 "Kung fu nuns" kicked off a month-long journey from Nepal through India yesterday, swapping their flowing maroon robes for lycra leggings to raise awareness about human trafficking and gender equality

About 200 "Kung fu nuns" kicked off a month-long journey from Nepal through India yesterday, swapping their flowing maroon robes for lycra leggings to raise awareness about human trafficking and gender equality. The Buddhist nuns are trained in martial arts and frequently organise pilgrimages and cycling trips to promote gender equality. "We are starting our fifth cycle yatra [pilgrimage] and our main mission is about increasing awareness about female empowerment, the environment and human trafficking," nun Yeshe Lhamo said.

The nuns will cover a 3,000-km route from Kathmandu, pedalling through south India to Delhi and then to Darjeeling. Pics/AFP
The nuns will cover a 3,000-km route from Kathmandu, pedalling through south India to Delhi and then to Darjeeling. Pics/AFP

Each year thousands of women and children across South Asia are lured into cities and across borders with promises of lucrative jobs but are instead sold into modern-day slavery. Nepal has seen an upswing in the number of cases of trafficking since a devastating earthquake in 2015 left thousands homeless.

The nuns will cover a 3,000-km route from Kathmandu, pedalling through south India to Delhi and then to Darjeeling. Pics/AFP

The country's human rights commission estimated that there were about 23,200 cases of trafficking or attempted trafficking last year. The nuns said they came across several cases of trafficking while volunteering in relief efforts for earthquake victims. The nuns will cover a 3,000-kilometre route from the hills of Nepal's capital Kathmandu, peddling through south India to Delhi and then to Darjeeling.

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