Economic Development

Empowerment to be agents of change

In the regions where we operate, the majority of people live in poverty. Unemployment is very high, particularly among women and young people. The inhabitants lack appropriate training, professional opportunities and support.

Some figures : In India, more than 65% of the population lives in rural areas, where it is difficult to find work and food. In Nepal, approximately 80% of the population lives in rural areas where they support themselves through farming and raising livestock , the yields of which depend on the vagaries of the weather.

Economic insecurity, which mainly affects women, has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, which has pushed millions of people below the poverty line. Economic development programs are now more essential than ever. Our centers provide training to strengthen and further develop skills in crafts, agriculture, IT, entrepreneurship and innovative technologies.

In India, we also provide financial support for the creation of micro-enterprises, while in Nepal, we concentrate our efforts in rural areas that are often very difficult to access, thereby helping people to acquire skills that they can then use to benefit the whole village.

Notre impact en 2023

498 people received financial assistance to set up a micro-business

591 young people attended computer classes

474 women trained in craft skills

One of our programs in India

Setting up a micro-enterprise – “small business support” program

Finding a job is difficult for disadvantaged women and young people in India, even those with first-level qualifications. This phenomenon has been exacerbated since the pandemic: in Bihar, health restrictions have forced people to slow down, worsening the already precarious financial situation of many residents.

This microcredit program was launched in the north of Bihar, in Bodhgaya, with the intention of providing interest free loans to people who need financial support to develop a commercial activity. After an average of one and a half months, borrowers repay their loans. Street kitchens, sewing stalls, vegetable or cosmetics sales, small grocery shops – the types of businesses set up are diverse. They all contribute to the income of the entrepreneurs, but also to the local economy and the vitality of the village.

Karuna-Shechen attaches particular importance to the independence and empowerment of women. Over 80% of the beneficiaries of the microcredit program are women.

I took a sewing course and started practicing at home, as I’d always been interested. After I got married, I bought a sewing machine and started taking orders from local women. The association then helped me to buy more equipment so that I could develop my business. I’m happy to provide for my family and, thanks to my income, my husband and I will be able to pay my son’s school fees

Bihula Sardar, from Darimach village, Jharkhand. India

At the end of 2022, 478 financial loans were granted for the creation of micro-enterprises.

I support the micro-credit programme

One of our programs in Nepal

Agricultural training – Responsible agronomy

In Nepal, the agricultural sector employs almost two-thirds of the population, and a large proportion of the rural agricultural workforce is unemployed outside the peak season, when the hiring rate is highest. Added to this are the recurring problems associated with the topography of these areas, as well as seasonal droughts.

In regions such as the Ruby Valley, where farming is already difficult due to the topography and climate , optimizing farming techniques can make life easier for farmers and increase their production.

The agricultural training courses taken by the beneficiaries, many of whom are women, provide technical knowledge that ensures the subsistence of their families as well as generating additional income from the sale of surpluses. The distribution of a variety of plants and seeds helps to improve the nutritional qualities of the food produced in the households. In order to respect local cultures and their years of experience and knowledge we rely on traditional techniques. The methods used are also respectful of health and the environment.

Even as a child, I worked as a farmer, which is why I never went to school. I’m 62 now but I’m still very active and a hard worker. Thanks to Karuna, I’m lucky to be able to study innovative farming techniques. These range from the production of natural seeds, organic fertilizers and pesticides, to working the land between harvests. I cultivate my plots better and get better yields. I have learned a lot and am happy to share my knowledge with my neighbors.

Shiddhi Bahadur Burakshetri, farmer – NĂ©pal

 At the end of 2022, 324 people will have been trained in responsible agriculture.

I support agriculture in Nepal

Our intervention method

Empowerment programs focus particularly on women. By occupying a more equal place in society, they have a positive impact on their families’ education and health, and they gain greater self-esteem. By emancipating themselves, they break down gender barriers, overturn taboos and become sources of inspiration for other women and future generations.

Furthermore, the programs implemented are designed to be systemic, varied, multidisciplinary,and complementary. The economic opportunities benefit the local people and also improve living conditions in the villages and communities.

Find out more about our economic development programs

Women Pillars of Agriculture

Nourishing Autonomy

To foster women's empowerment

Dare to talk about menstruation


Women in action

Food Security

A Green Winter

Ophthalmic Health

Seeing Beyond Limits