August 31 2019

Non-Traditional Education: Teaching Empowerment and Sustainability

At Karuna-Shechen, we know that education can have far and deep reaching benefits. An engaging teacher, opportunities to learn, and a positive learning environment can create a spark that changes a life, a community, and an entire future.

Education equips people at all stages of life to explore and reach their potential. Our projects in the Himalayas focus heavily on providing children with a quality education at an early age and ensuring that they receive equal opportunity throughout their school-age years. We also focus equally on the part education can play in the success and sustainability of our community-level projects.

Women : key players in development

We believe women can play a leading role in reducing poverty and inequality, and in creating a more just and altruistic world. We give female villagers income-generating and entrepreneurial opportunities that enable them to reach their potential and to become active agents of change in their community.

Fields like electric rickshaw driving and solar power technician are opening up to women, enabling them to develop and implement innovative, sustainable solutions that improve living conditions in their villages.

Ajanti Devi is one of the women in India who is now an electric rickshaw driver thanks to our training program. I am very grateful to Karuna-Shechen for this opportunity. I also hope to set an example for other women to follow so that many more will join the program.”

Through these opportunities, women are able to change their status and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Plus, by working in areas traditionally dominated by men, they help overcome social taboos and become models for younger generations.

Promoting Community-Wide Education

Entire communities in underserved areas of the Himalayas benefit greatly from awareness campaigns, health training, and community development projects. Often, it is traditional wisdom that has been lost in the modern age that is re-introduced as a tool for improvement.

In remote mountain villages in Nepal, for example, Karuna-Shechen is teaching community members to grow their own nutrient-rich food through the use of traditional techniques, including organic pesticides and fertilizers they prepare themselves from local ingredients.

Dhan Kumari took part in our Kitchen Garden program and now advocates for the importance of growing a variety of vegetables using traditional methods. “I learned so many new things. They are actually very simple and practical things we can do in our home gardens.” What’s more, her newfound knowledge is helping the entire community through knowledge share and leading by example. “Villagers are viewing my progress with envy,” Dhan Kumari says. “I want to help others start and enjoy more home-grown vegetables.”

In addition to traditional wisdom, new ideas whose time have come are also introduced to villagers and used as a springboard for the physical and social health of the community. Our first aid training, for example, teaches villagers how to help sick and injured neighbors. Our hygiene awareness improves health and well-being, and our environmental awareness improves the home and surrounding area, making the environment cleaner for everyone. We hold meetings, distribute information, and encourage villagers to share knowledge with one another, thereby spreading education beyond what we could do alone.

Education for the Long-term

The non-formal education we provide to villagers and communities harnesses traditional wisdom and builds off local strengths to improve lives, support neighbors, and sustain positive practices. The education they received runs deep, weaving history, cultural heritage, proven best practices, and short and long-term personal — and community-wide —benefits.

We invite you to join us!

Together, let’s empower our education, our future. Help teach a woman to read, provide training, or support a teacher’s salary!

Thank you!