Our story so far…

Shining Hope Foundation has come a long way since its launch in July 2010. As a small charity with no administrative costs, this has made delivering our projects, and ensuring value for your generous donations, quicker and easier.

From the start our defining vision and philosophy has been that the projects we support across the world should take a holistic approach to safeguarding local wildlife, natural resources and supporting local communities.

Between July 2010 and 2013, Shining Hope Foundation supported HUTAN, a French NGO based in Borneo and Malaysia, which carries out orangutan research and habitat conservation, engaging with local communities to support this.

The work with HUTAN was a great success and in this time we managed to safeguard important parcels of land where ecosystems were at risk. HUTAN’s Wildlife Warden Team also carried out over 335 patrols – which prevented and arrested illegal hunters and smugglers, and built three tree bridges to connect fragmented forests and preserved the habitat of primate species.

Towards the end of 2012, we decided that HUTAN was now in a sustainable and strong position, and the time was right to support another project and develop our partnerships with other organisations.

In the process of selecting a new partner, Shining Hope Foundation spent four months in India assessing NGOs, mainly in Bangalore and Bodhgaya, before arriving in the Bihar region. Here the team discovered a completely different side to India and were shocked by the people’s living conditions and how remote they were.  Sanitisation was poor, water wells went un-repaired, and little was done to ensure a reliable electricity supply.  The local villagers were left to fend for themselves; cut off from nutritious food, safe drinking water and modern Indian society.  We saw people in desperate need of medical attention, but no one who could help.

Despite this, we experienced the warmest and most excited welcome in each and every village we visited.  Everyone was happy to share their story of how Karuna-Shechen – a small but ambitious humanitarian organisation that supports the underprivileged populations in the greater Himalayan region – had helped them or a member of their family.  We were struck by how such a small charity could make such a big difference for so many people, and this was what led us towards identifying our new partner.

Ultimately, the founder Matthieu Ricard inspired Shining Hope Foundation to partner with Karuna-Shechen.  Matthieu, a Buddhist monk who has led projects to help thousands of people in the Himalayas, shares a message of hope and love, and focuses his work on these forgotten communities.  The fit with Shining Hope Foundation’s core values of sustainability, compassion and transparency was perfect.

With the support of WISE, philanthropy advisorycompany, which assessed the extent of our chosen NGOs’ requirements, our partnership with Karuna-Shechen began in September 2012.

Since then, considerable achievements have been made. For example, because of your generous donations, Shining Hope Foundation has been able to help Karuna-Shechen’s non-formal education project to reach 10 new villages, in addition to the six villages where the scheme was already running.

In addition, your support means Shining Hope Foundation now also contributes towards a fantastic programme which provides illiterate grandmothers with training at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, North West India, to become solar engineers. Thanks to your donations, these grandmothers will return to their villages to provide electricity for hundreds of homes – overall, the project will improve the quality of life of over 2,550 villagers and empower women across communities to become educated and determine their own destinies.

In November 2013, almost a year after  establishing our partnership, in September 2012 Shining Hope Foundation’s team of trustees returned to Bodhgaya. This was in order to see the difference your donations have made since we started supporting Karuna-Shechen, and to identify our plans for the next two years.

Visiting the Schechen Medical Centre and mobile medical clinics, we saw what had been achieved to revolutionise the health, educational, environmental and social wellbeing of hundreds of people from dozens of villages in the space of 12 months. We also saw how our partnership with Karuna-Shechen had allowed us to identify six new villages around Bodhgaya to receive healthcare support, medicine and education by mobile clinic teams, extending our support and reach 18 villages. For a greater illusation on where you are making a difference, you can read our account from this fascinating trip to India here, and see photographs here.

Looking ahead, we hope that in supporting Karuna-Schechen’s vital work, we can deliver maximum impact and long-term sustainability, leaving them in a stronger position to attract other potential charitable partners in the future.

Our partnership may be young, but with your help , the potential for reaching out to more and more communities, to provide vital healthcare, education and social support over three years, is huge.  We hope you can support us and join Shining Hope Foundation as we strive together to make a positive difference in the region over the coming months.

With a small change, we can make a big difference.