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...
When Matthieu Ricard and Rabjam Rinpoche co-founded Karuna-Shechen in 2000 to improve the living conditions of the Himalayan people, environmental stewardship and sustainability was part of the solution to address the inequalities and suffering they observed in the region.
For populations dependent on cultivating and producing from the land — such as those in remote and rural areas of India and Nepal — the health and stability of the environment plays an important role in the well-being of families and communities. Likewise, the ability of these populations to overcome social inequalities, retain traditional wisdom for environmental best practices, and to model and teach new generations to care for the Earth are keys to not only creating healthy lifestyles but also to preparing for the future.
For the last twenty years, we have worked with villagers and families in need to save and improve lives, provide quality education, and increase opportunities and equality for women — and environmental sustainability has been a central component to our actions. In all of our projects and work with villagers, we not only make decisions that are in the best interest of the environment, but we also provide training and encourage environmental stewardship to help those in need improve their own well-being, that of their community, and that of the environment of which they are a part.
Please join us for #OurEnvironmentOurFuture
To address social inequalities in remote communities, Karuna-Shechen has developed numerous projects to help educate and empower women to take their place as equal contributing members of the communities in which they live.
In Nepal, villages in hard-to-reach mountainous areas cut off from the grid needed access to electricity to improve quality of life. Recognizing our ability to not only provide opportunities for village women but also to create environmentally-friendly options, we launched a solar training program that recruits and trains Nepalese women to be bearers of light in their communities. After completing our training program, the certified women return to their villages to install and maintain clean solar electricity sets.
In India, among several projects that equip and empower women to be agents of change and hope in their communities, our electric rickshaw program is an example of opportunities created in cooperation with the environment. Women in need of an income to support themselves and their families can not only learn to become drivers, but also have the opportunity to make a living by operating an electric rickshaw taxi of their own. This environmentally-friendly profession is a win-win for empowering women to take care of themselves, their families, and the environment.
Providing quality education is an investment in the future — and teaching children to be environmental stewards is an investment in the health and well-being of the planet we all share. As Karuna-Shechen built and repaired schools, installed bathroom facilities and provided access to clean drinking water to thousands of children over the years, we ran our projects in ways that supported and advanced environmental awareness and action for the children we serve.
Our Go Green program in schools teaches children the importance of environmentalism through instruction, art, and writing. It also raises awareness with families about reducing plastic use through sustainable jute bag distribution, and it improves the environment by planting shade-producing trees on the grounds of the schools we support.
At the family and community level, Karuna-Shechen empowers those in need to improve well-being in environmentally-friendly ways, including through our Kitchen Garden program — a project that teaches traditional techniques to grow, tend, and harvest organic fruit and vegetables.
Families in under-served villages receive training, non-GMO seeds and plants, as well as the support they need to grow nutritious food on small plots of land. Sustainable water-harvesting techniques, traditional fertilizer and natural pesticide know-how, and a mentoring network to teach fellow villagers all help promote a food supply that is grown in balance with the Earth and remains sustainable for years to come.
Karuna-Shechen’s many programs and projects have been working with communities and villagers in need to improve health and well-being — while also increasing environmental awareness and stewardship that contributes to the health of the planet and teaches those we serve to invest in the future.
While there is still much to be done to preserve and care for the environment, Karuna-Shechen’s position as a trusted resource for sustainable solutions within vulnerable communities in need places us in a perfect position to advance environmental stewardship in the years to come. Our dedication — strengthened by your support — will empower continued environmentalism in the Himalayan region and beyond.
We invite you to partner with Karuna-Shechen to continue and strengthen our grassroots, sustainable environmental initiatives in the Himalayas.
Please join us with a generous gift of support.
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...