Karuna-Shechen Annual Report 2017

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FOREWORD by Matthieu Ricard




















2018 & BEYOND








MATTHIEU RICARD Altruism aims to bring happiness to others, while compassion strives to alleviate their sufferings. This approach is further supported by an understanding of the mechanisms of happiness and suffering, and the awareness of our common humanity. In 2000, with Rabjam Rinpoche the abbot of Shechen Monastery, I co-founded Karuna-Shechen inspired by the Dalai Lama’s encouragement that Buddhist communities become more actively involved in social service. This strenghtend my own wish to undertake useful actions and led to the creation of Karuna-Shechen. For the last 18 years Karuna-Shechen has been working in Tibet, Nepal, and India supported by the generosity of many friends and faithful benefactors.

“How do we do the most good with the time and the energy we have?” In order to be effective, altruism must be carefully examined and planned. We must check the actual impact of the expenditures we incur and evaluate them in light of the benefits they offer. This requires careful investigation and discernment. Karuna-Shechen’s humanitarian decisions and actions are guided by the ideal that compassion without wisdom is blind, and wisdom without compassion is sterile. The organization we are today is a direct result of our altruistic vision that has led to a series of successful accomplishments. If our present and future teams perpetuate these values, our work will continue for many years in the future, and become an inspiring model for other organizations to follow.

With “compassion in action” as our goal, Karuna-Shechen’s aim is to help people to meet their basic needs, as well as create the long-term conditions for them to achieve physical and mental health and fulfil their potential. To date, Karuna-Shechen has completed more than 300 humanitarian projects in remote, rural communities, benefiting hundreds of thousands of people each year. Our approach has always been to focus on grassroots projects that respond to the needs expressed by the people we serve, without imposing our own preconceptions.

All this can only be accomplished with the generosity and support of our loyal donors. It is thanks to you that we can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in remote and neglected areas of Nepal, India, and Tibet. We are pleased to have you as a member of the Karuna-Shechen family and invite you to continue with us as we work to do the most good. Thank you from the depth of my heart!

Those of us who have participated in Karuna-Shechen’s projects have become close friends and are convinced, not only of the importance of altruism, but also of the need to cultivate in our own lives kindness, resilience, dedication, and joie de vivre. We see all too often that the weaknesses of human nature – ego, corruption, and so on – have caused the collapse of some charitable organizations, rather than their lack of accomplishments or resources.


who we are OUR WORK Karuna-Shechen was founded in 2000 by Matthieu Ricard with the goal of helping communities that are under-served in India, Nepal, and Tibet break the cycle of poverty and reach their full potential. Our programs provide short-term support that fosters long-term change. We give populations that are vulnerable and disadvantaged access to health care, education, training, clean water, solar electricity, and other sustainable solutions and opportunities. Beneficiaries receive the tools they need to build resilience and create the future they wish for themselves, their children, and their community.

OUR MISSION We strive to reduce inequalities and work toward a fairer and more compassionate world. We believe that communities can be lifted out of poverty, that change is possible, and that the wellbeing of every individual, regardless of race, gender, class, or caste, is essential. Rooted in the ideal of “compassion in action,” we serve others with joy and determination by cultivating altruism in our hearts and actions.

OUR STRATEGY We believe that building on local strengths and knowledge is the most effective way to respond to the specific needs and aspirations of beneficiaries. Therefore, our comprehensive development strategy is based on active community participation, women’s empowerment, and the preservation of local culture and natural resources. We develop projects that can be replicated and sustained without reliance on external and foreign help. To implement this strategy, we work with a network of grassroots organizations, partners, and local teams of experienced professionals.

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our team Our name expresses our mission while paying homage to our roots: Karuna means “compassion” in Sanskrit, and Shechen is the name of a major monastery in Tibet.

To effectively serve those most in need, Karuna-Shechen has established a collaborative team of local professionals, grassroots partners, staff, and branch volunteers who share our values and Matthieu Ricard’s vision for a more altruistic world. Together, since 2000, we have funded, initiated, and managed humanitarian and development projects that have transformed the lives of over a million beneficiaries in India, Nepal, and Tibet.

India & Nepal

International Fundraising

2 field offices

4 branches

in India and Nepal

in France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the USA

126 local employees, including 50

medical staff

9 local partners Whith

94 local



2 affiliates in Canada and England

38 international

volunteers and 5 staff members

the year 2017 in brief

ACTIVITIES BY SECTOR Education: School Construction and Repair, Government-Funded Community Schools, Early Childhood Development, Informal Community Schools, Computer Classes. Health: Medical and Mobile Clinics, Pelvic Organ Prolapse Awareness, Malnutrition Prevention, Women’s Health, First Aid Training,


2,220,385 USD operating budget 250,000 beneficiaries 135,000 medical consultations 6,725 children educated 2,156 women received literacy classes

Support of Homes for the Elderly. Support To Communities: Access to Water, Rural Solar Power Program, Organic Kitchen Gardens, Clean Environment, Small Money BIG CHANGE Initiative, Counter Human-Trafficking, Emergency Preparedness, Veterinary Mobile Clinics. Women Empowerment: Literacy






Entrepreneur Opportunities, Solar Electrician Training.


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6,000 Pilgrims in need were offered medical care during Buddhist events, India.

Refresher course for 24 female solar technicians, Nepal.

Training in children’s cognitive development, motor skills, symbolic play and pro-social behaviors, India.

18 runners participated in the Paris Heroes Race to support our projects, France.






WHERE WE WORK The beneďŹ ciaries that we support at Karuna-Shechen live in

NEPAL Head Office:

very isolated, rural areas where there is limited or no access to healthcare, quality education, or economic opportunities.

Shechen Medical Clinic, Boudhanath, Kathmandu.

Districts of Operation: 1

1 2 3 4 5














16 19


15 20

9 10








Humla Surkhet Bardiya Baglung Dhanusha Sunsari Morang Kathmandu Dhading Kavre Ramechhap Gorkha

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Sindhupalchok Nuwakot Solukhumbu Dolakha Makwanpur Okhaldhunga Sindhuli Rasuwa

(8-20 Districts where we implement SpeciďŹ c Programs in Earthquake Affected Areas)


INDIA Head Office:


Shechen Medical Clinic, Bodhgaya, Gaya district, Bihar.


Sub-Office: Jhamshedpur City, East Singhbhum District, Jharkhand.

Districts of Operation:


State of Bihar 1 2 3 4

Gaya Jehanabad Nawada Aurangabad

State of Jharkhand



Our projects are located in the nomadic regions of eastern Tibet.


They are not included in this annual report.

East Singhbhum Seraikela-Kharsawan

All 10 schools in districts we help that were devastated by the 2015 earthquakes have been rebuilt, Nepal.

Field mission to identify location for construction of a school in the remote Taplejung district, Nepal.

Irrigation pond and canals are ready for use at the remote Manjhagawan Village, India.

Construction began on our new clinic and training center in Jharkhand, India.






education Strengthening Access to Quality Education in Remote Villages

Education is the key to promoting equality and independence. In remote villages where schools are either nonexistent, underfunded, or neglected, Karuna-Shechen provides access to quality education for children — from preschoolers to secondary school students. We build and assist with the management of community schools, repair existing facilities, train and recruit additional teachers, and donate supplies, teaching materials, and furniture to existing government schools. Parental and community engagement is encouraged through regular meetings, and the local culture and language is always respected. As a result of these efforts, drop-out rates have decreased, graduation rates have increased and girls, in particular, receive a quality education that would otherwise not be available to them.


6,725 children 35 schools 101 village kindergartens 70 teachers

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REBUILDING SCHOOLS After the 2015 earthquakes destroyed many of the schools in remote regions in Nepal, our goal was to rebuild and give children the opportunity to learn. In 2017, we completed this mission and opened the final seven schools.

SECOND CHANCE EDUCATION In remote Bihar, Karuna-Shechen operates three small elementary schools for 311 children. Sarita Kumari is one of the teachers whom our team recruited and trained: “Without this school, the majority of the children in the village would not have access to education and would remain illiterate,” she says. “Private schools are far too expensive and the public school is far away and of such poor quality that most children drop-out.”



Our early childhood program continued to grow and benefitted over 3,500 children between the ages of 3 and 6 in 101 Indian village pre-schools. Trained local assistants ensure that children receive the support they need to thrive. They interact with each child using educational and developmental toys and games.

“It is essential that communities see value in their local school, as well as the important role they play in ensuring that their school thrives and fulfills its purpose. This principle is at the core of our education strategy.” Sanjeev Pradhan, Field Operations Director


health Bringing Medical Care to People who are the Most Vulnerable

Basic health care is not accessible — geographically and financially — for many people in the Himalayas and northern India. Our health services are essential for saving lives and improving the well-being of those in need. In 2017, through our clinics, we continued to provide vital preventive and curative care to the most vulnerable populations. We trained local first aid and health workers to prevent future medical tragedies in isolated communities. We persisted with our health education and awareness programs for women, reducing stigmas surrounding personal hygiene, nutrition, as well as reproductive and menstrual health.


135,000 people treated by our clinics

2,931 local first aiders trained

60,000 women’s health education beneficiaries

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OUR CLINICS Karuna-Shechen clinics and mobile teams offer complete medical care, treatment, referrals, and palliative services, free of charge for the most vulnerable populations. In 2017, they worked daily to serve: • 79,000 people in 3 districts of Bihar, India. • 13,000 people in 2 districts of Jharkhand, India. • 43,000 people in the Kathmandu region of Nepal.

MEET OUR BENEFICIARIES “In 2017, through our clinics, we continued to provide vital preventive and curative care to populations that are the most vulnerable.” Mina Devis, 39, Mobile Clinic Beneficiary, India.

FOCUSING ON WOMEN’S HEALTH Lack of basic knowledge about safe childbirth and menstrual and maternal health leads to many tragedies. Karuna-Shechen provided care to women in the following ways: • 7,533 Girls and women received menstrual and personal health education. • 111,043 Subsidized, low-cost sanitary napkins were distributed in schools and villages. • 51,570 Women participated in our uterine prolapse awareness and screening programs. • 1,326 Villagers received advanced first-aid training in safe-birth procedures.


TRAINING TO SAVE LIVES • 2,931 local people were taught first aid skills to provide life-saving immediate care when accidents, health complications, or disasters strike in remote villages.

women Empowering Women to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Women play a leading role in reducing poverty and inequality and are conduits to creating a more compassionate world. At Karuna-Shechen, our needs-based projects empower women to reach their full potential and to become active agents of change in their community. We improve the livelihood of female villagers by giving them access to literacy courses, vocational training, and professional opportunities. By working in sectors traditionally reserved for men, many of our trainees contribute to reversing taboos. These women become equal members of society and models for younger generations.


2,156 literacy students 24 active solar technicians 65 informal education centers in villages

3 trained taxi-rickshaw drivers

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MEET OUR BENEFICIARIES • In 2017, we started a vocational

• When Manju Devi saw women driving

program for making toys in Bodhgaya.

taxi-rickshaws around Gaya, she was



surprised and immediately intrigued.

hired to create soft, cuddly toys for

It did not take long for this young

the village daycare centers that we

mother to join our training program:

support. Remaining toys are sold in

“The first few months were a bit




the market. Chandni is one of the

difficult,” she says. “But now I am

women in the program. “I love making

used to it. The money I earn helps

these toys,” she says. “They help light

me ensure a better future for my

up the lives of little children. This also


gives me the chance to earn an extra income for my family.”

3 REASONS TO FOCUS ON WOMEN • Increasing the share of household incomes controlled by women changes spending in ways that benefit children. • Educated women are more likely to ensure that their own children stay in school. • Women’s education is one of the most effective ways to reduce child mortality.


Our 24 Nepali Solar Technicians participated in a five-day refresher training course in Kathmandu.

rural communities Reaching Sustainability and Building Resilience

Our support of rural communities is deeply intertwined with all of our services. If children do not have access to a reliable source of water and proper sanitation, in schools or at home, the impact of our health and education programs will be minimized. Similarly, despite regular visits from our mobile medical clinics, the overall health of the villagers we serve will not improve if they continue to have limited access to nutritious food. As our India Director Shamsul Akthar points out: “All of our activities are interconnected, and together they create an interdependent eco-system of interventions in which they build on each other’s success.” This integrative approach is the key strategy to assist beneficiaries to become more resilient. “We empower villagers through training. We encourage them to use their own knowhow to create better living conditions and to share what they have learned with neighboring villages,” explains our Field Director in Nepal, Sanjeev Pradhan. “This philosophy of building self-sufficiency is the basis of all our programs.” The objective is to build a sense of ownership and responsibility for the projects. If villagers understand the long-term benefits of our actions and the importance of their own efforts, the projects we implement together will have a greater chance to be replicated and sustained long-term, without depending on external aid.

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77 Toilets built 204 Domestic water tanks installed in village houses and schools.

4,600 Farm animals treated through our mobile veterinary clinics

2 Irrigation ponds, 1 canal, and 2 wells completed

346 Farmers trained to increase food security in villages.

20,000 Kitchen gardens planted by villagers.

24 Counter-trafficking awareness trainings organized. 12 District-level consultations on disaster management.

34,000 Jute bags distributed to reduce plastic pollution.


everyday challenges

Some of the most isolated and hard to reach villages in the Himalayas are the ones most in need. Their distance from services, elevation and road access, and weather conditions all pose logistical challenges that need to be overcome in order to serve these populations. Our teams often travel many hours, and sometimes days, by four-wheel drive vehicles or on foot to reach their destination. To bring in supplies, we traverse rough terrain, sometimes repairing or bypassing sections of road as we go. Monsoons and waves of extreme heat can also be unpredictable and add a layer of uncertainty to projects in northern India, Nepal and eastern Tibet. As part of our commitment to serving even the most remote and hard-to-reach communities, everyday challenges are met with resolve and determination by the Karuna-Shechen team.

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Karuna-Shechen’s projects in eastern Tibet provide the local population with access to education, medical clinics, elder care, and cultural preservation. The overall situation in Tibet for NGOs continues to present numerous challenges, especially for the people in the ďŹ eld. In response to this sensitive situation, it is necessary for us to limit our reporting. For more information about our humanitarian activities in Tibet, please contact a branch of Karuna-Shechen directly.


2018 & Beyond

India: Focus on Jharkhand Four years ago, in response to the needs observed by our staff and expressed by villagers, we made a long-term commitment to bring heath care and a better life to the people of Jharkhand. At the end of 2017, we laid the foundation for a new building in the small rural town of Hata, south of Jamshedpur.

Toilet Toilet


Like our clinic in Bihar, the building will provide general medical services and will be used as a training center for villagers and women’s empowerment programs. It will include ofďŹ ces where our team will coordinate regional community projects, including education, vocational training, mobile clinics, and clean water initiatives.


Training center Field team offices

#BuildTogether2018 is an ambitious and altruistic project that is dear to our hearts as it will allow us to serve more people in need in one of the poorest regions in India. We invite you to support this project and follow our progress online: #BuildTogether2018

Toilet Toilet



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Pathology Lab



Nepal: Helping More Villages Karuna-Shechen’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty and help beneficiaries become self-sufficient without creating dependence on external assistance. In 2018, we will continue to reach new villages and implement projects that can be sustained and replicated. The effectiveness of this approach has been demonstrated. In our education projects, for instance, the majority of the schools we have been supporting for the last few years are now effectively run and offering quality education to hundreds of children. As a result, children, and girls in particular, are staying in school longer and able to reach their full potential. It is a wonderful achievement! This success also means that it is time for Karuna-Shechen to offer its expertise to new establishments. In 2018, we will be ending our support to 28 schools across the country and helping new ones. We apply this strategy to all our focus areas. Our food security, first-aid and solar training programs, to name a few, will also be offered to new communities, while our previous beneficiaries will continue to use the skills they acquired and pass their knowledge on to others. With your support, we will continue this “compassion in action” and build a more just and altruist world by empowering communities with tools to transform their lives.


interdependence Our projects are accomplished through a web of interdependence and goodwill that includes our teams in the field who implement the projects, our international branches that raise funds and awareness, and our benefactors, whose generous and faithful support make all this work possible. Here is what they said about our work and vision:

SHALAV RANA, Project Coordinator, Nepal “For me, there is nothing better than doing deeply meaningful work in a positive way. At Karuna-Shechen, every day, I feel wonderful. That’s why I work for this organization.”

DOCTOR SHAGUFTA KHALIL, General Practitioner Shechen Clinic, India

CATHERINE LALIVE D’EPINAY, Volunteer Treasurer, Switzerland

“Many women come to see me. Without

opportunity to work with people who

our help, they would have to suffer

share the same sense of altruistic

in silence because of gynecological

commitment and positive spirit!”

problems, often caused by poor living conditions and the lack of hygiene in remote villages.”

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“At Karuna-Shechen, I have the

ALEXANDRA DE NAZELLE, Heroes’ Race participant, France “Karuna-Shechen embodies the values I hold dear: kindness, altruism, and compassion. I admire the commitment to the environment, the empowerment of women, the education of children, and the help provided to people who are the most vulnerable.”

FRÉDÉRIQUE BUISSON, Yoga Teacher, France “When I saw the misery and poverty in Kathmandu, I wondered how I could help. As I love what Matthieu Ricard does and his books, for the last two years, I have been organizing a yearly yoga retreat to raise funds for Karuna-Shechen.”

ANN DOWN, Donor, Founder of the Good Works Institute, USA “With nineteen years of experience in the philanthropic world, I have the upmost confidence in Karuna-Shechen’s vision of promoting generosity and compassion. This organization brings direct relief and

VIVIAN KURZ, Board member and former director, United States

OLGA, Recurring monthly donor, France

“I rejoice for the good motivation and

“I choose to support Karuna-Shechen

“compassion in action” work of Karuna-

because their humanitarian actions

Shechen, and dedicate that merit to the

resonate with me and serve as a source

benefit of all sentient beings!”

of hope and optimism.” 21

aid to people and villages who are extremely impoverished.”

financial information



Nepal Earthquake Rehabilitation Programs

The total expenditure in 2017 for our programs in India and Nepal was 2,220,385 USD. Administrative and operational costs for Nepal and India represent 8% of our global budget. The following charts do not include expenditures for Tibet projects and are in US currency (USD).

BUDGET BY SECTORS OF INTERVENTION Administrative & Operational expenses 124,102 8% Community Development 218,573 15%

Education 320,053 22%

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NEPAL EARTHQUAKE REHABILITATION PROGRAMS Social 103,400 14% Health 808,365 55%

Disaster Preparedness 28,701 4% Counter Human Trafficking 115,603 15% Solar Electrification 13,177 2%


Agriculture & Food Security 23,698 3%

Health 201,301 27%

Education 263,413 35%

our donors On behalf of our beneficiaries and our entire team around the world and on the ground in Nepal, India, and Tibet, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your gifts in 2017.

$50,000 and above Anonymous (Oman, Thailand, USA) American Himalayan Foundation (USA) Ann Down (USA) Emergences (Belgium) Foundation SER (Switzerland) Hershey Family Foundation (USA) Huang Yu Zi and Huang Chen Mei Yu (Taiwan) Hanna and Deiter Paulmann (Germany) Steven Watson (USA) White and Case (USA)

$20,000 to $49,999 Anonymous (Belgium) Maryse Goeminne-Bernabé (Belgium) The Capital Group (Hong Kong) C.G.R. (France) Mary Dickie and Leslie Dach (USA) Mariam Diaz Garcia (Switzerland) The George Family Foundation (USA) Ng Jan Hang (Hong Kong) Rajiv and Latika Jain (GQG Partners) (USA) Man Orga and Gaétan Flipo (France)

Rencontres Perspectives (France) Rotary Club district 1760 (France) Tergar Meditation Community - Madison (USA) Vanguard Charitable (USA)

$5,000 to $19,999 Anonymous (Belgium, France, Germany) Allary Editions (France) American Endowment Funds (Benevity) (USA) Glenn Bucksbaum (USA) Frédérique Buisson (France) Capitial Group (USA) Anita Cassimon (Belgium) Charles Englehard Foundation (USA) Jean-Noël Cheveau (France) Marie-Christine Couderc (France) Coutot-Roehrig (France) Susan and Richard Davidson (USA) Delta Plus Foundation (Italy) Frederich de Mallman (France) Christine and Jean-Michel Denis (France) Claudie Despretz (France) Fondation Insolites Bâtisseurs (France)

Cristina Funes-Noppen (Belgium) Gere Foundation (USA) Peggy Hedberg (USA) Marie-Rose Helderlé (Reunion) J. William Hernandez (USA) Jonathan and Kathleen Altman Foundation (USA) Daniel Kindelberger (French Polynesia) Maison des Leaders (Canada) Malesherbes Publications (France) Michael J. And Alexandra Palko Foundation (USA) Thomas Gerber Neidhart (Switzerland) PLCC Sarl (France) Marc Poncin (Switzerland) Rekha and Anuj Puri (USA) Denis Rivière (France) Jonathan and Diana Rose (USA) The Sarlo Foundation (USA) Shaw Communications (Canada) Jean Timsit (France) Tostivent Duvert Deville - Notaires et Associés (France) UK Online Giving (USA) Voyageurs du Monde (France)

Thank you to our friends Thibault d’Anjou, Christian Brogi, Fanchon Lavigne and OneAction for their support, and to Christophe André and Wolf Singer for kindly donating their proceeds of the joint conferences and events with Matthieu Ricard.

And a special thank you goes to all our loyal recurring online donors! 23

“All of us engaged in supporting Karuna-Shechen’s projects are convinced not only of the importance of altruism, but also of the need to cultivate in our own lives benevolence, integrity, resilience, dedication, humility, and joie de vivre. I thank everyone from the depth of my heart, on behalf of all those in India, Nepal and Tibet who benefit from our programs.”


Branches KS Hong Kong: asia@karuna-shechen.org KS Europe: europe@karuna-shechen.org KS Switzerland: switzerland@karuna-shechen.org KS USA: usa@karuna-shechen.org Affiliates Canada: canada@karuna-shechen.org

To join us, visit us online karuna-shechen.org

United Kingdom: england@karuna-shechen.org

Follow us on Field Offices India: india@karuna-shechen.org Nepal: nepal@karuna-shechen.org

Design by www.studiocarrevert.fr - Printed by www.la-contemporaine.fr with plant-based inks on recycled paper - Photos: Karuna-Shechen

Matthieu Ricard, Founder of Karuna-Shechen

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