The annual Hindu ceremony of Raksha Bandhan is observed in Nepal, north and west India. It is also a secular festival which celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters and is popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister relationship between men and women who are relatives or biologically unrelated. In our case the “sisters” are the girls whom we have brought to Kathmandu from Tipling, Dhading District, to continue their higher education and, funds permitting, to start jewellery training in January. The “brothers” are of course the boys whom we’ve rescued from India who have had to remain at our Kathmandu refuge in the absence of family circumstances conducive for reunification.
In the ceremony the sister ties a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist. This symbolises the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. ChoraChori observes the practice to allow children to build relationships where these are weak or have been lost altogether, restoring a sense of stability and security.