The word Karuna originates from Sanskrit, the classic language of the Indian subcontinent, and means ‘compassion’. The mission of Karuna Foundation – improving the lives of children with disabilities – starts and ends with compassion to make people look after their fellow humans and take action.
The Karuna Foundation started in 2007 by a Dutch entrepreneur with the ambition to improve the lives of children and adults with a disability in rural communities in Nepal in a sustainable manner. Soon afterwards, they realised the importance of a prevention program to reduce birth defects, stunted growth and maternal and child mortality, and added this component to the program. In the 50 pilot villages in the district of Ilam,the Inspire2Care program was developed, tested and improved, until a successful and cost-effective programme emerged.
Crucial principles of Inspire2Care are the strengthening of the existing local health care system and increasing of local financing. Also, an ‘exit’ strategy of Karuna Foundation in each village made it clear to all local authorities when and how they have to continue the program at their own costs.
The Karuna Foundation Nepal, turned into a local NGO in 2016, has its own local board and is led by two ambitious Nepalese directors, who have committed themselves since the start of the program. They manage and lead an enthusiastic and highly motivated team of 60 professionals in Nepal. In the Netherlands, starting in 2019, a new KarunaNL Foundation was formed as a legal entity to support the scaling and replication of the Inspire2Care program via fundraising, coordination of funding by different foundations and the sharing of reports. They have assigned an impact study to an independent research institute and they also support the management in Nepal.