December 5 2019
Twenty years ago, Matthieu Ricard set out to build a better world for the people of the Himalayan region through the founding of Karuna-Shechen. Working in remote and underserved villages, made poss...
Last April, people in the village of Manjhagawan gathered to meet our India director, Shamsul Akhtar to decide how to irrigate their fields in the dry season.
They decided that we should construct a pond and two irrigation canals together. Seven months later, the irrigation system was in place, just in time for the start of the dry season. Thanks to your donations, Karuna-Shechen has funded 50% of the project as part of our rural community support initiative: small money, Big Change.
In this isolated area, over 70km from Bodhgaya, during the monsoon season (June-September), families grow rice that they harvest in November. From December, the beginning of the dry season, farmers grow wheat and mustard. Until now, the harvest has been small because there was no irrigation system.
Five small rural communities will benefit from this newly constructed pond — nearly 5,000 people! “It will be good for everyone and allow us to produce more during the dry season,” says Rajo, one of the oldest women in the village.
Our Approach to Community Development
We involve the villagers in every step. For the village of Manjhagawan, a committee made up of 7 women and 6 men coordinated the project. We subsidized 50%, and the villagers financed the rest. Each family contributed to a special savings account and two villagers, with the support of a Karuna-Shechen coordinator, kept track of the finances.
Our goal is to improve the daily lives of villagers, without creating dependency on outside help. Through our small money, Big Change initiative, we teach financial transparency to communities, while strengthening their sense of responsibility. The villagers feel proud to show the accounts, accurate to the penny, and the daily monitoring chart of the project.
The village of Manjhagawan also benefits from the following projects:
Mobile medical clinic (since 2014)
Creation of organic vegetable gardens (since 2016)
Mobile veterinary clinic (since the beginning of 2017)
Literacy course for women (since the beginning of 2017)
November 15 2019
Karuna-Shechen’s projects are developed to serve the needs of villagers and communities in remote and under-served areas of Nepal, India, and Tibet. While we gauge success based on the number of peo...
Meet the villagers, our team, and all those who make our work possible. Discover the values that guide and inspire us. And learn how your generous support improves the living conditions of 250,000 peo...