February 28 2019

Towards a More Equal World: Our Programs for and with Women

Women play a key role in reducing poverty and inequality, and creating a more altruistic world. Karuna-Shechen gives Indian and Nepalese women the opportunity to embody that change: for themselves, their families and their communities.

Women’s health awareness and services

For the rural populations we support in India and Nepal, the lack of information on hygiene and the shame associated with women’s diseases have enormous consequences on their health.

In fact, poor personal hygiene accounts for an estimated 70% of diseases affecting the female reproductive system, and a UNICEF study revealed that 10% of Indian women believe menstruation is a disease. In rural Nepal, 25% of women unknowingly suffer from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) due to inadequate postpartum care.

These figures paint a picture of the widespread problems and suffering endured by a majority of women. Young girls who avoid going to school during menstruation because they lack sanitary pads often end up dropping out, while women with pelvic organ prolapse find it difficult to walk and complete everyday tasks, and often become marginalized by society.

With your support, we can implement innovative outreach and screenings, and provide necessary care to women in need. Those who are psychologically and physically healthy are better able to contribute positively to the wellbeing of their family and community.

Education: autonomy and equal opportunities

Out of the 796 million illiterate people on Earth, two thirds are women. In addition, despite doing two thirds of the work, women earn only 10% of the world’s income.

As part of Karuna Shechen’s education program, we provide free literacy classes to promote women’s empowerment. Learning to read and write gives women more autonomy and enables them to act as role models for new generations. Plus, children of educated women are less likely to suffer infant mortality and are more likely to stay in school.

Karuna-Shechen also strives for equality at an early age by enforcing a fair girl/boy ratio in the preschool and elementary schools we support. We pass on to future generations the idea that every child has the same rights and opportunities to build a future for him/herself.

Training: knowledge and opportunities

In rural and isolated parts of India and Nepal, women are generally responsible for difficult and low-paying agricultural work. Empowering women is therefore not only a matter of education but also of improving economic conditions. That is why Karuna-Shechen offers professional training for women.

With our support, women gain confidence and inner strength. They are able to earn an income making crafts such as candles, incense, toys, jewelry, and pottery, or enter fields previously dominated by men, such as solar power technicians and electric rickshaw drivers. In addition to bringing change to their families, they help reduce stigmas, break taboos and become role models for society as a whole.

The training courses and opportunities that we provide radically transform women’s living conditions, allowing them to pursue their dreams and have more ambitious ones. With new sources of income, living conditions improve for families: increased nutrition, improved health, and better education for children. Society at large also benefits from these changes. In 2018, for example, women trained as solar-power technicians brought light to 600 homes.

Let’s continue to build a better future together

We need your generous support to continue to give women and communities the means to improve their lives and social conditions.

It is to up to each and every one of us to embody this change and be an inspiration to others.

#IAmChange

Discover the portraits of women taking part in our projects: