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...
In keeping with our mission to help the most vulnerable people, Karuna-Shechen created a strategy to address the needs of the communities that were left out of post-earthquake humanitarian and development aid programs because of their remoteness and/or small population.
In collaboration with local grassroots organizations, we engaged villagers as active participants and decision-makers, and provided them with tools to build their own resilience. This community-focused effort prioritized the key recovery elements of safer shelter, water and sanitation, public health, and livelihood. Our support repaired schools and infrastructure while also investing in long-term improvements and training that enhanced quality of life and overall well being.
In the four years since the earthquakes, we have received frequent positive feedback from our beneficiaries, relaying the impact we have had on their lives. We are pleased to share a few of these quotes with you:
After the earthquakes, the seventy-three students in Laxmi’s school were set up in temporary bamboo shelters built by the villagers. “We had no water, toilets or playground, the rain and wind came into the makeshift building. It was really difficult to properly study in these conditions.”
As part of our Earthquake Rehabilitation Program, Karuna-Shechen constructed a new building with classrooms, toilets, and access to safe, reliable drinking water. We also provided the school with supplies and uniforms, and an additional teacher.
“When I’m older I want to become a nurse,” Laxmi told us. “I want to help others and learn how save lives. This is why I’m so happy Karuna-Shechen rebuilt our school. Education will help me and my community have a better future.”
When Sonam Tanam and his wife Maile lost their house, they built themselves a temporary shelter. The thin walls made out of metal sheets provided little protection from the freezing temperatures, however, and they developed high fevers and coughs.
Karuna-Shechen’s mobile clinic came to their remote village, and our doctors were able to examine and treat Sonam and Maile, along with dozens of other villagers, before moving on to the next community.
“We do not earn enough money to buy medicine,” Maile told us. “We are so grateful for the medical care and medicine from Karuna-Shechen.”
Leela lives in a remote village with his wife and son. Living in a temporary shelter made of metal sheets since the earthquake, they relied on kerosene lanterns for light.
“Before solar lights, we only had kerosene light,” Leela told us. “It used to emit black smoke and it wasn’t that bright. So we used to have to go to sleep early. But during the winter months, it didn’t get light until 7 am, so we had a difficult time.
When Leela heard about Karuna-Shechen’s Solar Power Program, which trains local village women to install clear solar home light sets, he was thrilled.
“Now, my wife and I can do many household chores in the morning and in the evening, and our son can study better.”
After the earthquakes, Narmaya’s family survived mainly on rice, potatoes, and corn. While these staples are enough to survive, they lack adequate nutrition to thrive, often leading to malnourishment.
In order to improve food security, Karuna-Shechen taught people in Narmaya’s village to grow their own nutrient-rich food. We provided training on the use of traditional techniques and distributed a handbook for villagers to follow. Our trained local coordinator also provided support to help villagers produce abundant gardens and use organic pesticides they prepare themselves from local ingredients.
Now, Narmaya and her family eat a variety of nutritious vegetables grown in their own garden. “We are poor people,” Narmaya said. “So if we lose our health, then we lose everything. That’s why it’s more important for us to eat healthy food.”
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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...