Karuna-Shechen’s Earthquake Relief Work in Nepal
Karuna-Shechen has been actively involved in the relief efforts in Nepal from the first hours after the terrible earthquake struck on Saturday April 25.
Since 2013, Karuna-Shechen has been running an Advanced First Aider Training program in Nepal, under the Disaster and Emergency Response Program. Under this program, the organization has trained 294 AFAs till date, and is currently training 100 more and has been conducting medical response drills, to be ready to respond immediately in case of natural disasters.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Shechen Clinic functioned as a triage center for assessing injury severity in the Boudhanath area. This had always been the organization’s plan for any disasters or emergencies, and they specifically trained their staff for. The doctors and medical staff helped with the relief effort by addressing medical emergencies around the city, in their own residential areas. In the aftermath, the two mobile clinics went into affected isolated villages to bring essential medical assistance to remote communities affected by the disaster. They also brought food and material assistance.
Karuna-Shechen’s specific area of intervention
A majority of the communities who need help are very small and isolated. There are numerous small settlements scattered all over affected districts, high up the mountains, most have no more than fifty houses.
A lot of those people have lost everything, and are in desperate need of assistance. However, because of their size and isolation, aid from the government and large humanitarian organizations do not reach them. They stay on the fringe of humanitarian aid because their numbers are not large enough to make them a priority and, also, because they are difficult to access.
This is where Karuna-Shechen comes in. If there is a need that they can directly address, no matter what the challenges, they will go where they are needed. This has always been the organization’s area of expertise, and even more so today, in such tragic times. In just one month since the first earthquake, on April 25, they have been able to reach and bring assistance to 165 isolated villages in 11 severely affected districts, directly helping 41,762 people. And this is just the beginning.
Organisation of the intervention
Karuna-Shechen relief work in Nepal follows a 3 step program:
- Medical response, both short-term and long-term;
- Food and shelter, both short-term and long-term;
- Rehabilitation and reconstruction, essentially long-term.
Karuna-Shechen will continue to bring medical and relief assistance (food and shelter) to communities affected by the earthquake as long as they need it. Karuna has been working in Nepal since 2000 and has built in this time a network of local grassroots organizations. Through this network they are able to reach isolated communities. Karuna-Shechen is joining forces with them to deliver adequate aid, reach isolated villages, and help those who are too often forgotten.
Rehabilitation and reconstruction will be the next phase. Given the magnitude of the devastation, this is not going to be a small or easy task. This will include building schools and houses, helping schools with their educational programs, rain water harvesting, planting of kitchen gardens and women empowerment. The organisation has started to assess the needs of the people and will devise long-term programs that benefit communities as a whole, based on their specific requirements.
More information on Karuna-Shechen
Karuna-Shechen was set up in 2000, by Matthieu Riccard, with the mission to provide quality healthcare, education, and social services to individuals and families in the poorest communities in Tibet, Nepal, and India. The organization places a special emphasis on the empowerment of women and young girls and the preservation of cultural heritage.
Karuna-Shechen has initiated and managed over 140 humanitarian projects in India, Nepal, and Tibet. Over twenty years of experience has allowed the organization to establish a collaborative team of professionals who work within local communities to identity and implement projects that respond directly to their needs. Even in adverse political situations, their projects have continued to thrive because they are community-based in scale and focus.
The projects range from clinics in the remote highlands of Tibet to medical outreach programs in the slums of Kathmandu, from a school in the mountains of Nepal to training in solar engineering for illiterate village women in India. The beneficiaries have little or no access to health care or education and live in communities that are in great need of these services.
An overview of all Karuna-Shechen’s projects here.
Karuna-Shechen’s Annual Reports.