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...
Education is a major challenge for humanity. It is a main factor to fight poverty and inequality, and to ensure a better future for all. Yet there are still many obstacles to access to education, which often remains unequal, especially in developing countries. In India and Nepal, Karuna-Shechen programmes are helping to strengthen quality education for all.
Over the past 20 years, the global situation of education in the world has improved: enrolment has increased, and education is of better quality and more equitable. But the situation is not yet optimal and the numbers improving over the past two decades hide inequalities that still exist: 265 million children are currently out of school.
In 2000, the United Nations established the “Millennium Development Goals” (MDG), which aimed to provide education for all and reduce the number of illiterates by 50% by 2015. 2015 MDG reports show mixed results, with only half of countries meeting that most important target.
In fact, according to the Global Partnership for Education, 1 out of 4 young people is illiterate in low- and middle-income countries, which let those people in the cycle of poverty. This situation is often due to a lack of resources invested in this sector. According to UNESCO, “The poorest children are four times less likely to attend school than the richest children, and the probability of not completing primary education is five times higher”.
The goal of gender parity is also still insufficient: according to the UN “about a third of developing countries have not achieved gender parity in primary education.” These inequalities do not provide opportunities in the labour market and contribute to gender discrimination.
Karuna-Shechen has been active since 2000 in India and Nepal which are particularly affected by difficult access to education, especially for girls. In Nepal, 770,000 children are still out of school and attendance for the youngest is only 51%.
According to a UNESCO study, the literacy rate of the under-15 population in India has increased significantly since 1980, but the inequalities persist as this rate is 20 percentage points higher for boys than for girls.
In 2015, the UN set new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (Sdgs), including two about education: Goal 4 for quality education and the promotion of opportunities for lifelong learning. Goal 5 is gender equality.
“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world” ~Nelson Mandela
UNESCO studies show the impact of education on poverty, health and economic development: “60 million people could escape poverty if all adults went to school for only two more years. “Education provides skills and knowledge that facilitate integration into the professional world, raise wages and break the cycle of poverty. In addition, education has a significant impact on health. In fact, it helps reduce infant mortality by educating mothers on the hygiene measures to be adopted. Girls education has prevented more than 30 million deaths of children under 5 years of age.” Educating also means passing on to our children values and goals: the principle of equality and parity is a subject that must be taught from an early age, as well as equality, respect, cooperation and benevolence. “For a girl, one year of secondary school will allow her to earn 15% to 25% more income”. To provide a girl with a quality education is to give her a better future.
These goals are thus social, economic and environmental priorities and define the most important humanitarian challenge of our time! In this context, education is an essential tool for building a sustainable and better future.
Karuna-Shechen is actively involved in developing a quality education that is equitable for all: girls, boys, children, young people and adults. In India and Nepal, the association has been working for nearly 20 years to give equal opportunities to all through educational programmes, vocational training programmes, and projects supporting the development of rural communities
In 2018, Karuna-Shechen’s programs enrolled 10,766 children, including 5,800 in kindergarten. Our support takes various forms: development of teaching content, purchase of supplies, infrastructure, toilets and rainwater collection systems, parents committee of parents of students and organizational support. In India, our early childhood program offers toys and training for educators so that children, during this important period of their development, can grow up in a healthy and fulfilling environment.
Karuna-Shechen also works for the automation of women who become key actors of change and participating helping to breaking the cycle of poverty. In 2018, our 25 informal education centers fought illiteracy by teaching 604 women to read, write and count. In India and Nepal, training courses make it easier for them to access the labour market: local crafts, solar technicians or electric rickshaws drivers.
Finally, with its holistic approach, Karuna-Shechen helps villagers to develop small-scale local projects that have a significant and lasting impact in the long term. We build local capacity and promote knowledge transfer through awareness and training cycles disaster preparedness, food security, first aid, and the fight against human trafficking, so that communities become more resilient and happy.
Thanks to the support of its many donors, Karuna-Shechen can have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of 380,000 people from remote and rural populations of the Himalayan region.
Join us in this adventure for a better education and a better future!
Education is a fundamental human right that remains inaccessible to some, not a wish but a reality for all.
With the support of its many donors, Karuna-Shechen contributes to the major humanitarian challenge of education and acts to provide a better and sustainable future for more than 380,000 people a year, among the isolated and rural populations of the Himalayan region.
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...