March 1 2018

Helping Women Transform Their Lives

Karuna-Shechen invests in women by offering programs designed to promote opportunity and equality. With access to vocational and entrepreneurial training, women in India and Nepal implement innovative solutions for their community and work in areas traditionally reserved for men, helping to change attitudes and act as models for new generations.

Our eco-friendly rickshaw taxi drivers and our solar technicians are two of our highly successful, life-changing programs:

Twelve New Technicians to Illuminate Villages

After a 15-day training with our solar partner in Nepal, twelve rural women were presented with their solar technicians diploma by our founder, Matthieu Ricard.

Together, they will provide and install 100 solar lighting systems in remote villages in six districts. They will also open six new assembly, maintenance and repair facilities throughout the country.

Karuna-Shechen strengthens the economic position of village women by offering solar technician training (electricity from solar energy captured by solar panels).

“I really liked the training,” Sanu recalls. “None of us knew about solar electricity. The most difficult thing was to learn to recognize the different threads and to use the tools properly. We have all become very close. During the training, we exchanged stories about our lives and the difficulties we have faced since the earthquakes. This motivated us to improve the living conditions in our villages.”

Since 2014, your donations have trained 42 village women in Nepal, radically transforming living conditions in hundreds of villages.

Solar lighting systems installed by our trainees produce much more light than the kerosene lamps and wood fires traditionally used in homes. They also reduce the risk of fire and diseases caused by toxic fumes.

Solar technicians

This clean source of electricity enhances academic achievement for school children and reduces the cost of fuel-based illumination.

It also provides a sustainable source of income for village women.

Electric-rickshaw taxi drivers

In 2014, we launched an initiative to create a network of female electric taxi-rickshaw drivers in Bodhgaya, India. It was such a success that we extended it to the neighboring state of Jharkhand, where we will train 10 new women in 2018.

“I wanted to work to earn an income,” says Dhani Hemrom, one of our female drivers in Hata, Jharkhand. “My husband is a seasonal farm worker, so it is difficult to provide for our four children with only one small, irregular salary.”

This project targets women with children living in precarious situations. After a rigorous selection process, women participate in a one-month training and then receive an electric rickshaw, which we subsidize by 50%. They can repay the rest in small installments. As drivers, these women earn an average of 250 rupees per day, with an average of 550 rupees a day in high season (October-February).

Through electric rickshaws, we are also promoting an environmentally friendly solution that combats global warming and reduces risk of respiratory diseases. Transforming lives and empowering women will continue to be a focus for all of us at Karuna-Shechen.

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