In India, Karuna-Shechen currently has nearly 200 employees across its offices in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Darjeeling. In an open spirit of cooperation and discovery, the three teams had the opportunity to visit with colleagues and explore their intervention programs in December 2023 and January 2024.

Exploring a New Setting

Each of the offices serve regions that differ geographically and socially. While Karuna’s programs have a common goal and revolve around the same intervention themes, the programs run by the teams vary depending on the audience and their communities. 

Sharing their programs provided the teams with the opportunity to immerse themselves in different settings, both in terms of organization and structure.The goal was to give teams a break from their routines, as well as a chance to explore a variety of work situations and solutions On the first day of the visit, teams toured their colleagues’ offices and health centers. Everyone had the chance to exchange ideas with staff members and observe the activities of the health programs.

The exposure program provided me with the opportunity to visit the offices in Bihar and Jharkhand, where I had the chance to meet team members. This experience proved to be enriching, as it allowed me to better acquaint myself with my colleagues and understand the implementation of the program in these two offices.

Nikita Rai, Senior Coordinator, Darjeeling.

Sharing Knowledge

During this exchange, the mindset of being a beginner was encouraged. Each visiting team had a fresh perspective as they observed the implementation of their colleague’s field projects. This outlook facilitated learning and professional development through personal interaction and collaboration.

On the second day of the visit, the visiting teams toured villages to explore programs and interact with beneficiaries. They attended community meetings, toured early childhood development programs, well construction sites, and gardening plots. This day also provided many opportunities for the teams to discuss different practices and strategies for  project implementation. They discovered that local realities bring new or similar challenges that can inspire their work at their home locations.

I had the opportunity to participate in the exhibition visit to Bihar, where I was able to meet and forge connections with colleagues holding similar positions to mine. This experience allowed us to refine our skills by sharing ideas and benefiting from various professional perspectives..

Dr. Nikita Arun, Dentist and Program Manager in charge of Health and Education, Jharkhand

Creating Connections

In January 2024, it was the teams from Darjeeling who visited their new colleagues. Thupten Bhutia, Documentation Officer in Darjeeling, shared his experience upon returning from his visit to the Bihar and Jharkhand offices:

The exhibition visit was an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the organization. From the moment we embarked on this journey, we felt well taken care of, ensuring that everything ran smoothly and everyone had a good time.

Thupten Bhutia, Documentation Officer in Darjeeling

During our visit to the Karuna-Shechen offices in Bihar and Jharkhand, we had the opportunity to interact with our colleagues who shared their knowledge and experiences with us. These interactions not only broadened my perspective, but also taught me a lot. By observing the projects in Bihar and Jharkhand, I gained a better understanding of how the organization conducts its activities. I was particularly intrigued by the number of programs undertaken in these regions, especially in the field of health and hygiene, where the organization provides various facilities. In the future, I hope that we can benefit from similar initiatives in Darjeeling.

This visit also provided everyone an opportunity to meet Matthieu Ricard, founder of the organization. He joined the teams to discuss their projects and answer questions about the association’s history, values, and vision.

I found these visits incredibly enriching. They go beyond just sharing ideas and stories about what we do in the programs. They have also brought us closer together and fostered a sense of unity. We are all part of a larger family, committed to a broader mission of serving people.

Sadia Eqbal, Documentation Officer, Bihar

Karuna-Shechen promotes the creation of strong bonds both within communities and among its teams. Cooperation and open-mindedness can only be transmitted to others, if we cultivate them ourselves. Hence, these inter-office visits hold particular significance. 

These visits offer the opportunity to enhance understanding, implementation, and operation of various programs. Moreover, they enable each staff member to grow personally and professionally while fully embodying Karuna-Shechen’s values.