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Female Monks in Thailand 36
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Lay women wait for their ordination ceremony as Samaneri (buddhist novice nun), supervised by one of the Bhikkhunis (wearing a saffron robe) of the Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 35
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Woman hugs relatives during her ordination as Samaneri at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 34
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, the first Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada nun, cuts the hair of a woman during her ordination as Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) at the temple she runs near Bangkok.

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Female Monks in Thailand 32
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni (left) shaves a woman during her ordination ceremony as
Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 31
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Bhikkhunis (female buddhist monk) receive women during their ordination ceremony as Samaneri (buddhist novice nun), at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 30
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Future Samaneris (novice nun) throws gifts to their families prior to their ordination, at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 29
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni (center) was the first Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada nun in Dharmaguptaka lineage. Now she is Abbess at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 28
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) leave the temple where they have just been ordained. Wat Songkdhammakalayani was the first monastery gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 27
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) show their saffron robes to their families just after receiving ordination, at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 26
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni (center), the first Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada nun, faced strong opposition from Sangha (buddhist clergy). However some buddhist monks expressed their support attending to the ordination ceremony of new Samaneris hold in April 2013 at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand (13 of 28)
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Three Bhikkhunis (female buddhist monk) at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand (12 of 28)
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Bhikkhunis (female buddhist monk) and Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) praying at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand (11 of 28)
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) praying at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand (10 of 28)
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) after prayer at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 24
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) after prayer at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 23
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) after prayer at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 21
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Relatives of new Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) serve food during lunch time at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. . Buddhist religious are supposed to eat twice a day and never after noon.

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Female Monks in Thailand 20
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Two Bhikkhunis (female buddhist monk) on their way to their dorms at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 19
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) receive lecture after being ordained from Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, the first Thai woman being fully ordained as a Theravada nun, hold at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 18
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Two new Samaneris (buddhist novice nun), under supervision of a buddhist nun (left) receive lecture at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 17
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Picture of Voramai Kabilsingh, Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni's mother. Voramai was the first Thai woman to be fully ordained as a bhikkhuni in the Mahayana tradition. This lineage differs from Theravada doctrine, practiced in Thailand.

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Female Monks in Thailand 16
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

A Bhikkhuni (female buddhist monk) observes two new Samaneris (buddhist novice nun), at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Female Monks in Thailand 15
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Two new Samaneris (Buddhist novice nun) enter a lecturing room at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 14
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (Buddhist novice nun) learn head massage techniques during their ordination training at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960, in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 13
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

Samaneri Dhammacetana, from South Africa, playing around with a dog at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. She is the only foreign nun living permanently at the monastery. Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 12
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) during a community work session at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. This kind of activity aims to place every nun at the same level, regardless of their prior education or training. Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 11
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (buddhist novice nun) during a community work session at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. This kind of activity aims to place every nun at the same level, regardless of their prior education or training. Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 10
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

One Samaneri (Buddhist novice nun) and one Bhikkhuni (female Buddhist monk) during the Almsround (food begging) near Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960, in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 9
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

One Samaneri (Buddhist novice nun) during the Almsround (food begging) near Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. People from communities around the monastery feed the Bhikkhunis (female Buddhist monk) in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 8
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

One Samaneri (Buddhist novice nun) and two volunteers gather food during the Almsround (food begging) near Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. People from communities around the monastery feed the Bhikkhunis (female Buddhist monk) in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 7
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (Buddhist novice nun) during the Almsround (food begging) near Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. People from communities around the monastery feed the Bhikkhunis (female Buddhist monk) in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Female Monks in Thailand 6
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
01 May 2013

New Samaneris (Buddhist novice nun) during the Almsround (food begging) near Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. People from communities around the monastery feed the Bhikkhunis (female Buddhist monk) in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. May 2013.

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Buddhist Women Face Fight Over Right ...
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Mais Istanbuli
01 May 2013

The first all-female temple is squaring off against a traditional ban that restricts women from their to be ordained as monks in Thailand.

Women in Thailand cannot be ordained buddhist monks. However, Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, 68, is determined to reverse this tradition. In 2000, she left her life as professor in a renowned Thai university and traveled to Taiwan to receive the bodhisattva's precept. Three years later, she was ordained a full bhikkhuni, the word for female Buddhist monks, in Sri Lanka and came back to her home country to campaign to improve the position of Thai women in religion. Known as Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, she now lives at the Songdhammakalyani Monastery, the first female temple in Thailand, located in Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok, where she ordains new novices despite of the official ban.

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Female Monks in Thailand
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Mais Istanbuli
01 May 2013

Women in Thailand cannot be ordained Buddhist monks. However, Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, 68, is determined to reverse this tradition. In 2000, she left her life as a professor in a renowned Thai university and traveled to Taiwan to receive the bodhisattva's precept. Three years later, she was ordained a full bhikkhuni, the word for female Buddhist monks, in Sri Lanka and came back to her home country to campaign to improve the position of Thai women in religion. Known as Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, she now lives at the Songdhammakalyani Monastery, the first female temple in Thailand, located in Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok, where she ordains new novices despite the official ban.

More photos can be viewed here: http://transterramedia.com/collections/1105

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Female Monks in Thailand 33
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
30 Apr 2013

A lay woman during her ordination ceremony as Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960. Participants must shave their hair and eyebrows.

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Female Monks in Thailand 25
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
30 Apr 2013

Dhammavanna Bhikkhuni (center) with new Samaneri (buddhist novice nun) at Wat Songkdhammakalayani, the first temple gathering fully ordained nuns in Thailand since 1960.

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Protest Against Media
Tahrir Square, Cairo , Egypt
By elmasdr
16 Apr 2013

Egyptian journalists protest in front of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate against the Minister of Information's membership to the Muslim Brotherhood after his harassment with female journalists.

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Hope for a Cherry Blossom
Bulgaria
By Transterra Editor
28 Feb 2013

Hope for a Cherry Blossom is a documentary photo-project, focused on a Roma woman, Vishna (Cherry in Bulgarian), a resident of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The project was continued throughout spring 2013. The project illustrated her daily life, work, house chores, family dynamics and everyday life in Roma community. The goal of the project was to explore life of the Roma through the story of Vishna, a mother of twelve children, who recently lost her husband to alcoholism. The question I raised was the difficulties of being a minority member and a single mother. The project aimed to bring understanding of problems an unprivileged minority group faces in Bulgaria.

I met Vishna, 42, in the church. It was a life changing encounter. What I remember from that day are her smile and hospitality (she invited me to her house), and I think these are one of her strongest character features.

Her home is a one-room shack on top of the mountain, home to the Roma community in Blagoevgrad. Just like most of the houses at the Roma district, Tsyganski makhala, as local people call it, there are no running water, no refrigerator and no place to cook at Vishna’s home, except the wood burning stove that keeps the family warm in winter. This doubles as Vishna’s cooking stove. To make it work, she collects or buys wood. The roof is damaged, it leaks when it rains.
It was raining on the day we met, so Vishna put some plates on the bed to prevent it from getting soaked. But she is used to this way of living. Vishna is not a Blagoevgrad native; she comes from Sandanski, where the Roma lifestyle differs from the one in Blagoevgrad. If in Blagoevgrad it is a rare case when Roma goes to school, in Sandanski the majority studies, only a few beg on the streets.

The same applies to Vishna’s nieces and nephews.

Vishna herself though never went to school, but her brothers did, for a while. Together with her siblings, she worked on a tobacco farm when she was a child.

Her three brothers served in the Bulgarian army and married at age 21, except her younger brother who married at 18. Vishna, however, married when she was only 13. She was kidnapped and brought to Blagoevgrad by her husband, Emil. Her parents were against, but she was already pregnant.

Today Vishna has twelve children and ten grandchildren. The oldest kid is Yuli, 27, he is married. Many years ago he moved to Gotse Delchev, where he works as a DJ. The youngest is Vasko, 3. In the beginning of 2013, Vishna learned that Vasko had leukemia. Vasko lived at the orphanage under medical control, but in May 2013 he got back home. Doctors explained to Vishna that Vasko got better and there is no need for him to keep the treatment. Her other son, Mitko, 5, is deaf. Two years ago, he had a surgery, but still he cannot hear well and therefore does not speak at all. Four other kids go to the boarding school where they stay on the weekdays. Some of the older children completed the elementary school. Now they are married and live in Blagoevgrad.

Since marrying, Vishna works as a street sweeper. Her monthly salary is around 300 BGN (200 USD). Unlike Vishna, her husband worked only one year in his life as security at a restaurant. Vishna never understood Blagoevgrad Roma, their segregated life and poor living conditions. She wanted to go back to Sandanski, but her husband kept pulling her back to Blagoevgrad.

Last several months were difficult for Vishna. She lost her husband to alcohol addiction. Soon she will get the probation from the court for her husband’s business (he used to send their kids to beg). Now Vishna’s children go to the boarding school. Her daughter Asya, 14, gave a birth to a child with mental problems. Even though Asya is married, Vishna is responsible for both of them.

Today, Vishna does not think of going back to Sandanski. She looks for opportunities in Blagoevgrad. She hopes of a better life for herself and her children. Even though Vishna struggles, she does not show her emotions and tries her best to support her family. Vishna dreams of a new house with all the necessities, getting her kids educated and having enough money to support them.

Written and photographed by Mayya Kelova

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Woman marches under the Egyptian flag...
Cairo, Egypt
By spisch
26 Jan 2013

A woman with a drum marched under an enormous Egyptian flag in Tahrir Square on January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. She beat the drum in time with the chants.