February 16, 2018

EVPA Member Karuna Foundation wins International award

Innovative approach for inclusion in Nepal 

Globally there are many initiatives to make the world a better place for people with a disability, but the social sector often lacks sufficient knowledge and entrepreneurial capacities to expand its programmes to a larger scale. Zero Project and Ashoka actively explore programmes that are effective and scalable for a world without barriers. The Inspire2Care model – initiated by the Dutch philanthropic fund Karuna Foundation – is selected by Zero Project, winning the award for accessibility, contributing to better disability inclusive communities in remote areas. 

Inspire2 Care Karuna Foundation Leonard Faustle3

Inspire2Care aims at full participation in society of children and adults with a disability in developing countries and reduction of avoidable birth defects and childhood disabilities. With a typical entrepreneurial approach, the model focuses on leadership of poor rural communities themselves to take action for the most vulnerable groups, among them people with a disability. The model is so practical and cost-effective, that it can be replicated relatively easily in another community or in other countries.

A larger scale

‘If it is not scalable, it is a hobby’, said Nanno Kleiterp of the Dutch Development Bank FMO. This idea fits perfectly into the approach that Karuna developed since her establishment in 2007. An anchored model that is scalable creates more and permanent impact. Besides, scalability combats inequality, because any community that wants to develop itself is enabled to do so by Inspire2Care. The model focuses on self-reliance and the mobilisation of locally available resources, even before the start of the programme. This ensures that communities can continue Insipre2Care’s activities on their own and with their own resources already after three years of the programme.

Zero Project and partner Ashoka recognise the effectivity and scalability of Inspire2Care. The joint initiative Zero Project Impact Transfer selected Inspire2Care as the most scalable solution, out of over 400 submissions.

People develop themselves 

Inspire2Care is also selected as Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility. Catering to remote areas without accessible services and inclusion is not possible. This does not only mean that, for instance, buildings should be accessible for wheelchair users, but also that communication should be adapted to people with a disability. Inspire2Care aims at leadership from the community itself and makes the society aware of the importance of inclusion. This is the goal of Karuna: that communities are triggered to take action themselves to make their schools, health services, public toilets and day-care centres accessible and to improve the existing healthcare for mother and child. Someone else cannot do it; people develop themselves.

Karuna is proud that her model is selected for both awards. During the Zero Project Conference, from 21 till 23 February in the United Nations office in Vienna, ample attention will be given to the innovative approach of Karuna Foundation.

About Karuna Foundation

Karuna Foundation was established in 2007 by a Dutch entrepreneur, with the goal to reduce birth defects and childhood disabilities and to improve the quality of life of children and adults with a disability in developing countries. With this mission, two models were developed: Share&Care and Inspire2Care. Karuna Nepal, in 2007 established together with two Nepalese social entrepreneurs, has been an autonomous local organisation since 2016, with 60 professionals who work in three different districts.


After a successful pioneer phase between 2007 and 2014 in the first project country Nepal, Inspire2Care is being scaled up to a full district, Ilam, located in the southeast of Nepal. Karuna has a proven model that will be scaled up further to one-third of the municipalities in Nepal within the coming six years. This will be done in close collaboration with the Nepalese government and other investors, which are united in an investors consortium. This way, the Nepalese government will be prepared to create inclusive communities in the whole country. Additionally, Karuna Foundation is ready to replicate Inspire2Care in any other context or other village.

About Zero Project and Ashoka

Zero Project, an initiative of Essl Foundation, is an international platform that promotes solutions for a world without barriers, like during the yearly Zero Project Conference. Ashoka is an international organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship through the worldwide Ashoka Fellows network. Essl Foundation and Ashoka have joined forces in the Impact Transfer programme, that mainly focuses on the internationalisation of the most innovative solutions for people with a disability.

Last year EVPA  published a success story on Inspire2Care – Karuna Foundation. The article gives information on their origins, statistical figures on the impact they have accumulated and key insights, by the community who have been positively affected by their success. 

Contact for more info

Ioana Traista , Communications and Partnerships Manager

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