Karuna-Shechen’s Earthquake Relief Work in Nepal

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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:

  1. Medical response, both short-term and long-term;
  2. Food and shelter, both short-term and long-term;
  3. 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.

 

Community Development Projects

Cultural Preservation Projects

Education Projects

Health Projects

 

An overview of all Karuna-Shechen’s projects here.

Karuna-Shechen’s Annual Reports.

www.karuna-shechen.org

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Matthieu Riccard – Compassion in Action

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Born in France in 1946, as the son of French philosopher Jean-François Revel and artist Yahne Le Toumelin, Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer. After completing his Ph.D. degree in cell genetics in 1972 at the Pasteur Institute under French Nobel Laureate François Jacob, he moved to the Himalayan region where he has been living for the past 40 years.

Matthieu Ricard is the author of several books, translated into over twenty languages, such as: ”Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill”, ”Why Meditate? (The Art of Meditation in the UK)”, ”The Quantum and the Lotus (a dialogue with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan)”, and ”The Monk and the Philosopher”, a dialogue with his father.

Matthieu Ricard has dedicated his life to the study and practice of Buddhism following the teachings of the greatest Tibetan spiritual masters. He has been the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama since 1989.

For many years Matthieu Ricard has been photographing the landscapes, spiritual masters, and people of the Himalayas. His work is exhibited in museums and art galleries throughout the world. He is the author and photographer of a number of photography books.

Henri Cartier-Bresson has said of his work, “Matthieu’s spiritual life and his camera are one, from which spring these images, fleeting and eternal.”

Matthieu Ricard is a board member of the Mind and Life Institute, an organisation dedicated to broadening the understanding of how the mind works. He contributes to the research on the effect of meditation on the brain at various universities in the USA and Europe and is the co-author of several scientific publications. He also contributed for the book Destructive Emotions, edited by Daniel Goleman.

All proceeds from Matthieu Ricard’s books, photographs, and events are donated to Karuna-Shechen (www.karuna-shechen.org/), the humanitarian association he created. Based on the ideal of ‟compassion in action”, Karuna-Shechen develops education, medical, and social projects for the most destitute populations of the Himalayan region.

He received the French National Order of Merit for his humanitarian work in the East.

For more information on Karuna-Shechen: www.karuna-shechen.org

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Alex Gavan – A Challenger of Heights Inside and Out

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A leading Romanian high altitude climber, Alex Găvan believes in aiming for excellence through honest performance, while holding performance accountable at all times. He feels that “mountains are not to be climbed with ice tools and crampons only, which we all can have; but above everything else, with humbleness”. To Alex “Climbing mountains Outside is climbing mountains Inside“.

By the age of 32 he reached six 8000m summits in the Himalayas by fair means, without using supplemental oxygen and high-altitude porters, still being the youngest Romanian who climbed an 8000er (Cho Oyu, in 2006) at only 24.

Three of the six peaks climbed by Alex were First Romanian Ascents: Shisha Pangma (8027m) in 2013;  Makalu (8463m) in 2008; and Gasherbrum I (8068m) in 2007. Broad Peak (8047m) in 2014; Manaslu (8156m) in 2011; and Cho Oyu (8201m) in 2006 were second Romanian ascents.

Alex is the recipient of the 2008 “Gold Medal for Merit in Sport” (Spain). He was awarded twice “The Romanian Sportsman of the Year in High Altitude Climbing” by the Romanian Federation of Mountaineering and Sport Climbing and nominated twice more for the same award. An active environmental activist, is also a WWF Romania Ambassador since 2011. Among others, he got Best Of ExplorersWeb Award in 2008; he was included in the 2012 Top of “30 Under 30” of Forbes Romania; in 2014 he was one of Men’s Health Magazine “Men of the Year”; and he was in the 2015 Foreign Policy Romania’s Top “100 People and Ideas that Move the Country”, receiving also the FP Romania Special Career Award.

Alex renders each experience in inspiration for leadership, vision, strategy, and tactics through powerful speeches. Over 30,000 people have attended his speeches, from highest-level decision makers to youngsters.

He trusts the transformational power that good thoughts and deeds set free in all of us.

You can read his account about what happened on Everest on April 25,  on this piece he wrote for Time.com.

 

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