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Founded2000 (2000)
FoundersMatthieu Ricard and Rabjam Rinpoche
TypeHumanitarian organisation
Area served
India, Nepal and Tibet
Budget (2017)
€2.2 million

Karuna-Shechen is an international non-profit organization which provides health care, education, and social services for people who are economically challenged and under-served in India, Nepal and Tibet. It was co-founded in 2000 by Matthieu Ricard, a French Buddhist monk and author,[1] and Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Karuna-Shechen has branches in France, the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Honk Kong[2][3]. Karuna-Shechen's overall budget in 2017 was €2.2 million.[3]


Matthieu Ricard and Rabjam Rinpoche had been involved in humanitarian work beginning in the 1980s. In 2000 they founded Karuna-Shechen in France as a non-profit organisation. Its name derives from karuna, which means "compassion" in Sanskrit, and Shechen Monastery. The organization is supported by numerous donors, philanthropists and grant awards, and by the proceeds of Ricard's lectures and photography sales. The operational costs of Karuna-Shechen in the field remain low (less than 8% in 2017[3]) and are typically covered by one generous benefactor, allowing for other collected donations to go directly to program services.[4]

In 2017, Karuna-Shechen served over 135,000 people with healthcare support from clinics in brick-and-mortar facilities and in mobile units that travel to remote villages. 6,725 children in Tibet, Nepal and India received regular education in schools supported by Karuna-Shechen.[3]

Karuna-Shechen also provided women's empowerment programming in Nepal and India which included literacy and vocational training programs, small entrepreneurial opportunities and sustainable kitchen gardens.[2]

In 2017, Swiss newspaper Le Temps described Karuna-Shechen as an organization helping 250,000 people each year in India, Nepal and Tibet. Food, health, education, and prevention of human trafficking are the organisation's main focus. The diverse array of humanitarian programs benefit marginalized families, mothers and children living in remote villages. For a global amount of US$3 million.[5]

2015 Earthquakes in Nepal[edit]

The organisation was particularly active following the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Karuna-Shechen provided help to over 200,000 people living in 620 remote villages,[6] including 14,445 tarps, more than 850 tons of food, and more than 70,000 hygiene and medical products.[7] The Shechen monastery linked to the organization became a centre for urgent medical care for injured people.[8] More than US$1 million was raised for these operations.[9]


  1. ^ Revello, Sylvia (December 31, 2017). "Matthieu Ricard: "Ce qui n'est pas donné est perdu"". Le Temps. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Karuna-Shéchèn soutient les peuples sur le toit du monde". Good Planet.
  3. ^ a b c d "Karuna-Shechen 2017 Annual Report". Karuna-Shechen.org.
  4. ^ AdGENCY Experts (2013-10-02), Matthieu Ricard - Association Karuna Shechen - Dîner Happy-Culture n°3, retrieved 2018-10-05
  5. ^ "Matthieu RIcard : "Ce qui n'est pas donné est perdu"". Le Temps (in French). December 2017.
  6. ^ Karuna-Shechen succeeds in its post-earthquake Nepal relief efforts, 10 septembre 2015, Lion's Roar.
  7. ^ "Karuna-Shechen Annual Report 2015". issu.com.
  8. ^ "Il appelle aux dons après le séisme - Le Népal de Matthieu Ricard". Paris Match (in French). 28 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Karuna-Shechen Annual Report 2016". issu.com.

External links[edit]