The Karuna Foundation was established in 2007 with the goal to improve the lives of children with a disability in developing countries. Nepal was identified as a country with a high need in this respect, lack of good care and potential for development. The social entrepreneurs and development specialists Deepak Raj Sapkota and Yogendra Giri started the Karuna Foundation in Kathmandu, Nepal to develop disability-inclusive societies in Nepal under the adagio of ‘saving children from disability, one by one’. Karuna Nepal grew out to be a full-fledged organisation with over sixty Nepalese professionals.
With private money, shared ambitions for innovative system change, and willingness to continuously learn and adjust, they developed and piloted the Inspire2Care program in close cooperation with the local Governments. Pilot programs were implemented, tested and evaluated in fifteen villages in the districts of Kavre, Sunsari and Rasuwa – between 2008 and 2015. After they learnt what could be achieved with their approach and interventions, it was decided to scale up Inspire2Care. In the district of Ilam, in the hilly far-east of the country, the program was replicated in all ten municipalities (former 46 villages and three municipalities) from 2015 onwards. Also, a cooperation with the Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR) resulted in the adoption of Inspire2Care in their approach in three villages in the district of Jhapa.
The Karuna foundation has always worked closely together with the government in the belief that they are responsible for all agendas related to their people. This includes sustainable healthcare and disability policy. Therefore, it has from the start aimed at adoption and scaling of the program by the government of Nepal.
With the promising results from Ilam and ownership by the local government, the Karuna Foundation decided in 2019 to approach the provincial government for replication of the program in the whole of Province 1 in collaboration with local governments. The government accepted the concept as an innovative program that could strengthen the current healthcare system. They made it an official government program and changed the name into Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Program (DPRP)