• To preserve Buddhist and local culture in the Khumbu region of Nepal by renovating and thus invigorating the Deboche Buddhist convent
  • To involve the nuns and local community in this effort
  • To construct new buildings that will serve as examples of energy efficiency and sustainable design and construction.

The Deboche Project is an organized effort to restore and make viable one of the oldest and most significant cultural treasures in the Himalayas. In order to achieve success, this mission has to go beyond providing basic assistance for its community of spiritual practitioners. In addition to restoring the existing convent, we need to build a new nuns’ residence and a meditation/ teaching center that will provide the opportunity for short and long residential programs, as well as individual retreats and community involvement. We do not see why the growth of a spiritual community should not be married to a greater awareness and honor of this scared land, and the community that lives and calls this place home. With financial assistance from concerned foundations, corporate sponsors and compassionate individuals, Deboche can become an exemplar for a green place of both human and spiritual pathways. It will become a catalyst for the preservation of the endangered Tibetan/Sherpa culture, the honor of threatened Himalayan heritage and the discipline of Buddhist spirit.

Currently 10 nuns of all ages call the Deboche Nunnery home, but with a new leader, they anticipate significant growth over the coming years. The convent is made up of approximately 12-13 buildings needing various levels of repair. Building and construction is this region is particularly challenging due to the remoteness, lack of roads, and extreme winter seasons. All construction materials are either carried by back, yak or helicopter.


New construction must

  • Be regionally appropriate
  • Be resource efficient
  • Be earthquake resistant
  • Provide a warm environment for the nuns
  • Create an inspiring place for the nuns and guests to practice
  • Support long term maintenance and operational needs


  • Use locally-available materials and labor where possible
  • Minimize energy use and emissions
  • Maximize passive solar gain
  • Maximize on-site generation opportunities
  • Refine and adapt traditional techniques to provide modern solutions that are more energy and resource efficient.

PHASE I (completed)

  • Installation of a 3 kilometer water line to the monastery and the nearby village
  • Construction of two greenhouses to extend the growing season and provide fresh vegetables for the nunnery and local residents
  • Repair or replacement of damaged windows, walls, and roofs of the convent buildings
  • Construction of two sanitary facilities with composting capacity
  • Installation of new seating mats for the shrine room
  • Installation of a new large cook stove for the kitchen and three small wood burning stoves in the nuns’ quarters
  • Insulation of the small kitchen/dining area which also allows a limited number of residents to use the area for study and recreation
  • Weatherproofing and insulation for three of the nuns’ living quarters


  • Nun’s living quarters (14 - 18 nuns)
  • Community dining (30 spaces)
  • Community kitchen
  • Food storage
  • Classroom/ flex room (15 students + teacher)
  • Shared restroom and shower facilities
  • Sun room spaces
  • Service/ Storage spaces
  • Outdoor space/ courtyard


  • Shrine room/ Meditation hall (24 meditation cushions)
  • Reception/ Common Area
  • Library/ Study
  • Apartment for visiting teacher
  • Small kitchenette
  • Small rooms for meditation practice/ study
  • Restroom
  • Sun room spaces
  • Service/ Storage spaces
  • Outdoor space/ meditation garden



Click to view elevation of new residence building