January 18 2022

A look back at our impact

In 2021, Karuna-Shechen supported more than 500,000 people in India and Nepal. A look back at a year rich in encounters, innovations and actions.


Acting to move towards a better world


Karuna-Shechen works to break the cycle of extreme poverty and to develop the full potential of the poorest women, men and children in India, Nepal and Tibet.

Our programs aim to help and empower local people. The beneficiaries are stakeholders: they express their needs, participate in the construction of the solution and are often financially involved in the project, with Karuna financing only part of the project. Thanks to this co-constructed development,the populations are involved from the beginning, and contribute to the maintenance and ongoing development which guarantees the sustainability of our programs.

Our wish is to assist groups of villages to improve their living conditions for the present and future generations. Our approach is holistic – we work in the areas of health, education, food security, economic development and environmental preservation. A village may benefit from agricultural support, the construction of a kindergarten, toilet facilities, or solar electricity systems. All of these efforts combined meet individual needs and contribute to the overall sustainable development of the villages.

As the populations we work with and support become more autonomous and more resilient, they are able to move towards a better future.


The people we help


At the time of its foundation, Karuna-Shechen was helping Tibetan populations exiled in Nepal. These migrant populations were living in extremely precarious conditions and after noticing their suffering, in the 1990s Matthieu Ricard and a few friends decided to put their experience and resources to work. The Karuna adventure began.

Twenty years later, the association has grown, become more professional, and expanded its areas of intervention and its field of action. The geographical areas we cover today are home to  diverse populations. We work in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand in India, and in the valleys of Kathmandu, Sindhuli and Ruby in Nepal. These areas are often very isolated, far from the reach of other humanitarian organizations.

Karuna-Shechen acts with compassion in action at the heart of all its activities. We act to alleviate suffering wherever we can, with equanimity, in a non-political and non-denominational manner, without distinction of gender, caste, geographical origin, religion, or sexual orientation.

In India and Nepal the vast majority of the populations we help are Hindu, but there are also Muslims in Bihar, Animists in Jharkhand, Buddhists and Christian in the Ruby Valley, as shown in the graphs below (sources: 2011 census in Bihar, India, and Nepal)

Finally, our 160 employees who work together in the field in India and Nepal are all natives of the country, and a majority of them are from the regions where they work.


Our impact in 2021


After a difficult year in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, most of our programs were able to resume last year, with some adaptations. As a result, we were able to support nearly 500,000 people and treat over 30,000 animals in 2021!

We trained and supported 560 women entrepreneurs, allowing them to pursue new ambitions. More than 48,500 people have benefited from our emergency assistance to overcome the challenges imposed by Covid and ensure the health of families. We have built a record number of water retention ponds, providing nearly 4,000 villagers with year-round water to irrigate their crops and facilitate daily chores.

Behind these figures, entire families have been helped thanks to your generosity. Matthieu Ricard’s income from his activities, which he donates in full to Karuna-Shechen, covers all the operating costs. Thus, we are able to ensure that 100% of donations are used to finance solidarity actions.

We remain convinced that it is by individually cultivating altruism that we can move towards a better world. This means nourishing our motivation with hope, wonder and other positive emotions, training our hearts to feel compassion and empathy, especially through meditation, and committing ourselves to serving others through our actions.

Thank you all so much for making this possible.

We are grateful to you for being able to

together, towards a more altruistic world.