Karuna-Shechen 2019 Annual Report

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FOREWORD by Matthieu Ricard


























MATTHIEU RICARD Dear Friends, It is with deep gratitude and appreciation that I greet


you once again through our Annual Report and share with you some of the accomplishments that, together, we have made possible.

lives so that they may reach their full potential. Guided by our vision of integrity, compassion, and action, we

This year marks twenty years since I was fortunate to

will continue our journey together into the next decade

co-found Karuna-Shechen with Rabjam Rinpoche to

committed to undertaking new projects while ensuring

undertake compassionate action and reduce suffering

the sustainability of existing ones.

through humanitarian projects in the Himalayan region. Since 2000, we have been working in eastern

Through it all, thousands of people have joined us

Tibet, Nepal, and northern India to build a fairer, more

in solidarity to help create a better world. From the

altruistic world. By utilizing community participation,

generous benefactors who helped fund our first projects

women’s empowerment, and the preservation of local

to our teams in the field, our international branches,

resources and culture, we respond to the specific needs

and our many volunteers, a web of interdependence

and aspirations of the people we serve. Today, our

and goodwill has made our work possible. Finally, it is

programs save and significantly improve the lives of

you and our other friends and faithful benefactors who

over 270,000 people each year in remote, under-served

together help us accomplish even more!

communities. As the challenges of our modern world increase, I thank As I reflect on the past two decades, I am reminded of

you for joining us on our journey, and I invite you to

the hope and potential in the Himalayan people and am

continue to support us in this important and meaningful

again convinced of the importance of our mission to


invest in women, children, and entire villages through With warmest wishes and deepest gratitude,

education, essential health services, and community development. Each person we reach through our projects is an investment in hope and positive change. Now in our 20th year, our work remains rooted in altruism and dedicated to reducing inequalities and offering our beneficiaries the opportunity to live healthy, empowered


Karuna-Shechen’s 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.

Who We Are VIDEO

OUR VISION Rooted in the ideal of “compassion in action,” we serve others

Karuna-Shechen was founded

with joy and determination by cultivating altruism in our hearts and actions.

in 2000 by Matthieu Ricard to help empower under-served

We strive to reduce suffering in the Himalayan region and work toward a fairer and more compassionate world. We believe that

communities in India, Nepal, and

communities can be lifted out of poverty, that change is possible, and

Tibet to reach their full potential

class, or caste, is essential.

that the well-being of every individual, regardless of race, gender,

and create a better future. OUR WORK We provide vulnerable and disadvantaged populations access to health care, education and vocational training, clean water, solar electricity, and other sustainable solutions. Our programs are interconnected, working together to provide short-term support that fosters long-term change.

OUR STRATEGY We believe that building on local strengths and knowledge is the most efficient way to respond to the specific needs and aspirations of our beneficiaries. Our comprehensive development strategy is based on active community participation, women’s empowerment, and the preservation of local resources and culture. We implement our strategy by working with a network of grassroots organizations and partners, as well as local teams of experienced professionals.

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Our Team Our team of local professionals, grassroots partners, volunteers, and staff work collaboratively to effectively serve those most in need. Together, we share and carry out Matthieu Ricard’s vision of creating a more altruistic world. Since 2000, we have funded, launched, and managed humanitarian and development projects that have transformed the lives of millions of people in India, Nepal, and Tibet. SHAMSUL AKHTAR Karuna-Shechen India Director “With our 3 C’s approach communicate, collaborate and capacitate and our firm belief in community-led, women empowering and environment friendly initiatives, we are poised to scale our projects in 2020.”

Headquarters Paris, France

2 field offices India and Nepal

142 employees, including 80

medical staff

5 international branches Canada, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the USA

SHALAV RANA Karuna-Shechen Nepal Director “The strength and resilience of the remote villages in Nepal have made them thrive for hundreds of years. Our programs are designed to ensure they remain resilient and also adapt well to newer changes.”

40 volunteers 8 staff members and 3




The Year 2019 in Brief

ACTIVITIES BY SECTOR Support To Communities: Access to Water, Rural Solar Power Program, Organic Kitchen Gardens, Go Green Environmental Awareness, Small Money BIG CHANGE initiative, Counter Human-Trafficking, Disaster Preparedness. Health: Medical and Mobile Clinics, Traditional Tibetan Medicine, Acupuncture, Physiotherapy, Women’s Health and Hygiene,


2,061,000 USD project budget 273,736 beneficiaries 113,152 medical consultations 9,041 children educated 1,269 women received literacy classes

First Aid Training, Veterinary Mobile Clinics, Palliative Care. Education: Early Childhood Development, Community Schools, Government Funded Community Schools, Computer Classes, Yoga Instruction. Women’s Empowerment: Literacy






Entrepreneur Opportunities, Solar Electrician Training.


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Over 2,000 children receive educational play materials, India.

2,800 copies of disaster preparedness handbook distributed, Nepal.

4 ponds developed benefiting 3,010 villagers, India.

918 rain water harvesting tanks installed for villagers, India.







Most of Karuna-Shechen’s beneficiaries live in rural areas where there is limited access to healthcare, quality education, or income generating opportunities.


NEPAL Head Office: Shechen Clinic and Hospice Boudhanath, Kathmandu.


INDIA Head Office: TIBET

Shechen Medical Clinic Bodhgaya, Gaya District, Bihar.

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


They are not included in this report.

Hata, Jharkhand.

4,353 people received medical care at the Shechen clinic, Nepal.

30 girls receive vocational training, India.

1,000 people participate in Yoga For Karuna to benefit projects in India.

Patients treated through our mobile medical outreach clinic surpasses 18,000 in Nepal.







Sustainable Communities Building a Better World One Village at a Time

Karuna-Shechen is making a difference in remote communities, working hand-in-hand with villagers to implement sustainable solutions that bridge gaps and build on strengths. Each of our activities is interconnected and based on the active participation of our beneficiaries, who learn and share knowledge to collaboratively improve conditions. Together, they create an eco-system of altruistic action that builds on each other’s success to progressively empower villagers and improve quality of life in rural communities. Through our holistic approach, Karuna-Shechen helps expand our collective goodwill and create a better and more sustainable world, one village at a time.


18,782 families planted kitchen gardens

600 homes received solar power 561 public toilets built 512 villages benefited 13 wells constructed or repaired 

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Karuna-Shechen’s Small



CHANGE program empowers communities in India to plan and implement smallscale projects that directly address their specific needs, such as the repair of Babua schools, new toilet facilities, and access to water through pond, culvert, and well construction.

Our Kitchen Garden and Family Farming

Ka r u n a -S h e c h e n’s Kitchen Garden program is teaching villagers to grow organic food using VIDEO traditional techniques, bio fertilizer, and seeds specific to their region. “Before, I used a lot of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This kitchen garden training really opened my eyes. I will now not only prepare organic manure and compost, but I will also use seeds that give better nutritional value.” ~Sangita, beneficiary

programs teach people in need to grow sustainable,




traditional techniques and environmentally friendly










With the help of Karuna-Shechen, families in rural areas of Nepal are receiving solar lighting systems to replace dangerous kerosene lamps and safely light their homes. The lights help the women do household chores, and students study in the evenings and early mornings.

“I used to have to use a small tuki to light my home. Now I have solar lights and it makes the air cleaner. I find it very


helpful!” ~ Laxmi Kumari, beneficiary 9


Health Saving Lives and Preserving Health for the Most Vulnerable

Our health services are essential for saving lives and improving quality of life for many people in Nepal and northern India, where basic health care is out of reach both geographically and financially. Through our clinics and mobile medical clinics, we provide vital preventative, curative, and palliative care. We also train local first aid and health workers to prevent future medical tragedies in isolated communities. Believing that prevention is the best medicine whenever possible, we inform and train villagers on proper nutrition, first aid, and hygiene practices, with a special focus on women and girls. Our health services save lives and cure diseases, raise awareness and reduce preventable illness, reduce pain for terminally ill patients, and offer alternatives to medication like physiotherapy and acupuncture to empower people to improve their well-being.


188,119 sanitary napkins distributed

131,771 program beneficiaries 40,157 patients treated through our mobile clinics

1,411 local first aiders trained a nnua l re p o r t

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Our Advanced First Aid Training program in Nepal teaches people in remote villages to provide emergency medical response and essential health services to their neighbors. With villagers trained and ready to respond to health needs and emergencies, communities become healthier, safer, and more self-reliant.

Improving health in under-served populations. “I have been coming to Shechen Clinic every day to take Tuberculosis medication, I am already getting better. Before, I used to sit at home, too weak to do anything. Now, I help my wife with the household work, and I am starting to feel much better.” ~Gyan Bahadur, beneficiary

Karuna-Shechen’s Alternative Medicine services in India are improving the lives of thousands of people in need through acupuncture, physiotherapy, and plantbased medical care. These non-invasive and drug-free treatment techniques are a sustainable and culturally-appropriate way to reduce chronic pain and illness.










Karuna-Shechen with


and support, implements innovative outreach and screenings, and provides necessary care to women in need.

“Karuna-Shechen gave me a better understanding





environment. I have now switched to cloth pads, and I am motivating my female friends to do the same.” ~Bikki, beneficiary. 11


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 non-existent, underfunded, or neglected, we provide access to quality education for children — from preschoolers to secondary school students. We support community schools, repair existing facilities, train and recruit additional teachers, and donate supplies, teaching materials, and furniture to existing government schools. Local culture and language are respected, and community engagement is encouraged by actively involving School Management Committees, parents, and elected local officials. As a result of these efforts, drop-out rates have decreased, and girls, in particular, received the quality education that would otherwise not be available to them.


7,850 preschool children 1,269 literacy students 471 yoga students 118 computer-training students

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Our Education program in Nepal provides outreach to involve parents and the community in education. They learn the value of having a local school and the important role they must play in helping it thrive and fulfill its core purpose. The result is an increase in sustainability and autonomy of remote villages.

Providing quality education for children. “After Karuna-Shechen started helping my school, we were very motivated. Our teachers teach better, and in many different ways. We are very happy and thankful for this.” ~Karishma, elementary school beneficiary

Karuna-Shechen’s innovative Early Childhood Development program in India provides toys, training, and support so that children in the critical development stage develop healthy physical, emotional, cognitive and social growth through educational and enjoyable play.

Karuna-Shechen organizes non-formal education classes for women in rural Indian villages. Our classes teach basic math and literacy skills, helping to empower and improve the lives of under-served villagers who never received an education. “I have found

a whole new purpose to life. I always wanted to complete an education, and I am finally learning to read, write words, construct sentences, and calculate dayto-day savings and expenditures. My children are very excited for me!” ~Usha Devi, beneficiary. 13



Women Empowering Women to Break the Cycle of Poverty and Become Agents of Change

Skills training can play a leading role in reducing poverty and inequality for women, helping them to become key players for change and a true source of inspiration. Our programs educate, empower, and provide women the opportunity to create the change they need in their lives. We also improve the livelihood of female villagers by giving them access to vocational training and professional opportunities. By working in sectors traditionally reserved for men, women are able to break gender barriers and reverse taboos. With new sources of income and a fairer place in society, these women have a positive impact on the education and the health of their children, as well as on their community.


600 solar power sets installed by women

338 women get vocational training

16 active solar electricians 8 trained taxi-rickshaw drivers 

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Our Solar Power program in Nepal provides the opportunity for women to be bearers of light in their communities. Women learn entrepreneurial skills to install and maintain solar sets and help their neighbors transition from dangerous kerosene lanterns to clean, renewable energy.

Creating opportunities for women. “I enrolled in KarunaShechen’s electric rickshaw VIDEO training because I needed to help support my family’s basic needs. Now I earn a sustainable living and I am a role model for other women.” ~Manju Devi, Beneficiary

Karuna-Shechen’s Vocational program in India trains and hires women to make supplies and assist in other projects, thereby creating sustainable, holistic solutions





learning skills and pursuing opportunities, many of our trainees become role models for younger generations.

In remote and under-served villages, entrepreneurial opportunities for women increase the well-being of women, their families, and entire communities. “I am

immensely grateful to Karuna-Shechen for empowering me in more ways than one. They gave me the training to sew and make soft toys that I can sell, and they gave me the vision to become a selfemployed woman. Thank you!” ~Premlata, beneficiary. 15

Karuna-Shechen’s projects in eastern Tibet provide the local population with access to education, medical services, elder care, and cultural preservation. The overall situation in Tibet for NGOs continues to present numerous challenges, especially for the people in the field. In response to this sensitive situation, it is necessary for us to limit our reporting.


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Together in Altruism Our projects are accomplished through a web of interdependent manifestations of good will — our teams and partners in the field, our international branches, and our benefactors, whose generous and faithful support make all this work possible.

Gyan Bahadur is a teacher from Nepal who participated in Karuna-Shechen’s 5-day teacher training program in 2019. “The training was based on the actual needs of the teachers. It emphasized how we can use what we learn to develop and implement teaching plans. We also received supplies and

Rajesh Ranja is a community member in India who approached Karuna-Shechen

stationary to use in our schools, which is an

for support. In a collaborative and participatory approach, we helped the villagers

important contribution.”

construct together a pond to provide water for the village. “Our main source of water had been a river —3 kilometers away! The new pond has had many positive impacts on the village and its residents.”

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Daniel G. makes a donation to Karuna-Shechen each month, reaching out from his

Lakshmi Mehta serves as our District

home in France to reduce suffering and improve the well-being of those in need.

Coordinator for our Women & Child

“Karuna-Shechen is the perfect example of compassion in action: a series of specific,

Development program in the Gaya

local, forward-looking actions, aimed at supporting and empowering underprivileged

district of Bihar.

populations using a harmonious balance of action and principles. The ‘human’ size of the

“Working with Karuna, I inspire adoles-

organization is also, in my opinion, a necessary condition for understanding and working

cents and women to realize their full poten-

with populations which it comes to help.”

tial and enable them to contribute to their community.”

Shanti Travel is a socially committed travel agency that supports us as a corporate sponsor. Alex Le Beuan and Jérémy Grasset, founders and sherpas of Shanti Travel testify: “We love the Himalayas and sharing the values of KarunaShechen, we have chosen to actively support their project of electric rickshaw drivers in India, through our Zero Carbon program. The objectives of this project follows our philosophy: environmental protection, inclusive actions, respect and fair wages for the local population.“


20 Years & Beyond

As we begin our next chapter, we embrace each step towards strengthening our service and building a better world.

Moving forward into our next decade of service, we renew our commitment to our vision: integrity, compassion, and action. Guided by these objectives, we will continue our journey to ensure the sustainability of our essential projects while rising to meet new challenges and extending the altruism message of Matthieu Ricard. Strengthening our Services: Building on past successes and responding to increasing needs, we will strengthen our services in India, Nepal, and Tibet in the areas of community development, health, education, and women’s empowerment. Increasing our Reach: Karuna-Shechen aims to expand altruism and respond to needs both in the Himalayan region and elsewhere, including France. Extending our Message: We are committed to cultivating the message of altruism embodied by Matthieu Ricard to benefit us all and the planet. The role that each of us plays in the next chapter is more important than ever. Please join us in compassionate action!

COVID-19! To mitigate the spread of the virus, Karuna-Shechen suspended all our programs in India and Nepal on March 24, 2020. Our teams continued to share prevention information and to make preparations for the future. Your support is vital to this effort, enabling us to respond to the needs of those most affected by this crisis.

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Reasons to Support Karuna-Shechen 1. We have spent the past 20 years reducing suffering and significantly improving living conditions for hundreds of thousands of people in remote Himalayan villages. 2. We work with under-served communities to address immediate needs, develop sustainable solutions, and build their resilience and self-sufficiency. 3. We create opportunities for women and girls to access quality education, learn new skills, and become more equal members of society, thereby breaking the cycle of poverty and creating a more altruistic world. 4. We respect the environment and preserve natural resources by promoting green awareness campaigns and training villagers in environmentally sustainable practices. 5. 100% of every donation goes to our projects because our operating expenses are fully paid by incomes from Matthieu Ricard’s books, photography, and conferences.


We are deeply grateful to our loyal benefactors who come together to make a difference in the lives of people in India, Nepal, and Tibet. The engagement and generosity of our donors enriches our efforts and makes our activities possible. $50,000 and above

Anonymous C.G.R. (France) Ann Down (United States)

$5,000 to $19,999 Anonymous Allary Editions (France) Aliette et Jérôme Balladur, Ayovie (Austria) Marie Baudron (United Kingdom) Stéphane Brac de la Perrière (France) Frédérique Buisson (France) The Capital Group (United States) Anita Cassimon (Belgium) Jean-Michel Cayla (France) Bruno Corre (France) Marie-Christine Couderc (France) Crossknowledge (France)

Mariam Diaz Garcia (Switzerland) Cristina Funes-Noppen (Belgium) Thomas Gerber Neidhart (Switzerland) Gere Foundation (United States) Joe Hemrajani (United States) J. William Hernandez (United States) Fondation Insolites Bâtisseurs Philippe Romero (France) Thomas McCoy (United States) Pam Omidyar (United States) Michael J. and Alexandra Palko Foundation (United States) Michèle et Bertrand Piccard (Switzerland) Rekha and Anuj Puri (United States) Julien Schoenlaub (Switzerland) Wolf Singer (Germany) Robert Wallstein (France)

Gaétan Flipo (France) Fondation Ganesha (Switzerland)

Véronique De Guignard De Germond (Switzerland) Claudie Despretz (France)

Diana Browning Wright (United States)

Anonymous François Bovey (Switzerland) The Cagni Foundation (United Kingdom) Emergences (Belgium) The Hawk Rock Foundation (United States) Austin and Gabriela Hearst Foundation (United States) Hershey Family Foundation (United States) Anne-Sophie Pastel Dubanton (Portugal) Association Santé Éducation Recherche (SER) (Switzerland)

$20,000 to 49,999

The George Family Foundation (United States) Maryse Goeminne-Bernabé (Belgium) Dominique Rogeaud (Switzerland)

Thank you to all our loyal volunteers: Julie, Laurent, Pauline, Jean, Patricia, Philippe, Fanchon, Delphine, Jon, Catherine, Alexandre, Rekha, Gianluigi, Juliette, Charles-Mathieu, Pascale, Ingrid, Virginia, David, Macy, Sylvie, Emma, Krisztina, Marcelle et Sylvie M., and Franck, and also to our dedicated employees and interns, all working together every day to expand their compassion and our impact to benefit others. A special thank you to our anonymous donors throughout the world, and all our dear friends for their support: Ilios Kotsou, Caroline Lesire and the entire Emergences team, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the entire GoodPlanet Foundation team, Christophe André, Alexandre Jollien, Rencontres Perspectives, Amalia Casado and Rodolphe Marcotte.

Let’s continue to work together to accomplish even more! www.karuna-shechen.org/how-to-help

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Financial information Karuna-Shechen’s global budget in 2019 was 2,617,000 USD. Administrative and operating costs represent 21% of our global budget and are fully paid by Matthieu Ricard’s incomes gathered over the years. Karuna-Shechen’s operational budget for projects was 2,061,000 USD. The following charts do not include expenditures for Tibet projects and are in US currency (USD).

GLOBAL BUDGET 2,617,000 USD Social missions in India 36%

Social missions in Nepal 43%

Communication & fundraising costs 13%


RESOURCES & DONATIONS 3,120,000 USD Activities and copyright revenue of Matthieu Ricard 10%

Other 11% Environment 6% Women’s empowerment 3% Community development 15%

Operational expenses 8%

Health 56% Grants from associations and foundations 26%

Education 9%

Corporate sponsors 8%


Individual donors 56%

“The work of Karuna-Shechen is what is the dearest to my heart, and I wish to express my deepest gratitude to those who have so generously made this beautiful work possible.�

Your donations make this and more possible. Please visit us online and help spread more compassion to people in need in the Himalayas: karuna-shechen.org/fr donation@karuna-shechen.org

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Matthieu Ricard Founder of Karuna-Shechen