The Shining Hope Foundation, a UK charity that supports sustainable social and environmental projects, has launched a new collaboration with humanitarian charity Karuna-Shechen, to help some of the most vulnerable communities in Northern India.
With the help of the Shining Hope Foundation, Karuna-Shechen, founded by world-famous Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, is now able to provide vital access to health, education, and social services for under-served communities in 18 villages across the Bihar region.
Several projects are being supported as a result of this ground-breaking new partnership. Shining Hope, founded by the philanthropic Saint-Arnoult family in 2010, is the main donor for the Medical Centre and Mobile Clinic in Bodhgaya, which aims to provide free long-term health care and comprehensive medical coverage for 35,000 people per year in Bihar. This is one of the poorest regions in India – where almost 60% of infants and 46 percent of women are malnourished.
Special focus is also placed on the education and empowerment of women and girls, and in partnership with the Shining Hope Foundation and local NGO Barefoot College, Karuna-Shechen is now sending illiterate women from Indian villages to be trained as solar engineers. After the training, the women will return to their villages to put their newly acquired skills into action by installing solar light in family homes – encouraging employment opportunities and a sense of pride and self-worth for the women who benefit. This scheme is anticipated to improve the quality of life and livelihoods of over 2,550 villagers.
In addition, Karuna-Shechen, with Shining Hope’s support, will provide women with educational opportunities and skill-enhancement classes through a Non-Formal Education (NFE) scheme and a Health Education scheme. The NFE programme aims to offer education in basic literacy, numeracy and essential life skills, whilst the Health Education scheme raises awareness about safe drinking water, sanitation, good hygiene practices, mother and child health, and the importance of immunisation and safe delivery.
Speaking about the partnership, Marie Saint-Arnoult, Trustee and Founder of the Shining Hope Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to partner with such a fantastic organisation and are excited by the enormous opportunity to transform the lives of so many villagers in India.
“Each project that we help fund is developed directly to respond to the needs and aspirations of those who have little or no access to such vital services.
“Karuna-Shechen’s mission falls perfectly in line with our vision as a charity – to help local communities live in balance with animals and nature. This is the basis upon which we select our partners.
“At Shining Hope, we are passionate about delivering lasting changes for the communities we serve and these new projects in India are very close to our hearts.”
Matthieu Ricard, Founder of Karuna-Shechen, humanitarian, best-selling author, acclaimed photographer, and Buddhist monk said:
“We are very grateful to the Shining Hope Foundation for choosing to partner with us and for providing us with a considerable amount of support through funding and awareness raising.
“The foundation has already helped Karuna-Shechen to extend outreach services to six more villages, bringing the total to 18.
“We would like to reach out to more people suffering from the grinds of poverty and marginalisation and look forward to working with the Shining Hope Foundation over the coming period so that we can make an even bigger impact.”