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ChoraChori’s new girls’ hostel identified

ChoraChori has identified premises to rent as its new girls’ hostel in Kathmandu.

After an exhaustive search of the neighbourhood of our existing Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre on the outskirts of Kathmandu, we have finally identified the building that will be our future girls’ hostel at the right price.

We aim to take this over as soon as possible and that comes with setup costs – including the need to repaint the building to a colour that is a bit gentler on the eye! There are four bedrooms on the first floor and three on the ground floor. With the use of bunk beds, we can accommodate 30-35 girls, as per our plans. The building is secure with a good wall and gate and there is a decent piece of outside space for recreation, such as badminton. This has only become possible through our three-year collaboration with the Soroptimist International Federation of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) that launched last month.

The budget for the setup and operating costs is here. We hope that our Soroptimist Christmas appeal will at least allow us to cover the setup costs and with anything more than that raised used to offset our hostel running costs into next year. The appeal will include participation in our Big Curry event on the 7th December.

To find out more about our collaboration with SIGBI, or make a donation to the Appeal, just visit the project microsite.  If you have any thoughts on how you might help, then please drop me a line.

He made it – congratulations Nims!

ChoraChori Ambassador Nirmal “Nims” Purja MBE today entered the mountaineering history books after completing his “Project Possible”.

This morning we awoke to the wonderful news that Nims had successfully summited Shishapangma, the 14th and final peak in his Project Possible challenge. He has absolutely smashed the previous record for climbing all of these peaks. Nims took six months and six days where the previous record-holder required just under eight years. For the full background, read this excellent report in today’s Guardian newspaper.

We look forward to congratulating Nims in person when he joins us for our Big Curry lunch on the 7th December. This will be live-streamed to our supporters and if you set up a parallel lunch at home or at your local Nepalese restaurant, we may allow you to ask him a question directly….

Shabash Nims!

Project launch at the Soroptimist International annual conference in Bournemouth

This weekend’s Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Federation annual conference was the setting for the launch of our three-year collaborative project, “Empowering Girls in Nepal”.

Time flies. It is hard to believe that it’s a year since ChoraChori was chosen as the SIGBI charity for the 2019-2022 collaboration “Empowering Girls in Nepal” – see this link. The past few months have been particularly busy as I have worked in collaboration with Soroptimist Project Liaison Officers Helen Murdoch and Rayner Rees (from the Bridgend Club) to get our ducks in a row ready for last Saturday’s launch.

Before we came on stage we heard a final presentation from the previous charity, and how together with SIGBI they had raised a staggering £161k in three years for their project in Kenya. The bar has been set very high for our project but we’ll try to surpass that. Our need is great as we try to move our work onto another level, moving up a gear from providing training into creating employment for our girl beneficiaries. Working with our project partners Unity in Health, Gandys Foundation and Her Future Coalition I am confident that we can accomplish that. A core contribution from SIGBI will be the funding of the training of at least 45 girls per year and a new girls’ hostel in Kathmandu.

Our presentation that launched the project went like a dream, thanks to a joint effort with Helen, Rayner and Rojika Maharjan who joined us from ChoraChori-Nepal for this memorable occasion. Our progress can be followed on this dedicated microsite and blog.

A little bit of magic comes to our children’s centre in Kathmandu

Leading international magician Drummond Money-Coutts has brought magic to ChoraChori’s kids in Kathmandu.

In Nepal, school ends for the week at Friday lunchtime. Normally, at our Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) in Kathmandu, Friday afternoons are fairly relaxed, maybe with a bit of sport thrown in to burn up some surplus energy. But last Friday our kids were in for a real unexpected treat – a definite break from the norm – when international magician Drummond Money-Coutts called by to lay on a short performance.

Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC) has been making a name for himself with performances all around the world, including to the British royal family. His Netflix series “Death by Magic” is absolutely captivating. There were no death-defying feats on Friday and a quick head-count at the end revealed that none of the children had mysteriously vanished. But this visit from the distinctive 6 foot 4 man with “Love, courage and belief” tattooed in Hindi on his scalp was one that the audience will never forget!

Mental health art workshop at ChoraChori in Nepal

This month ChoraChori has hosted Colombian artist Dairo Vargas who has led a mental health art workshop at our facility in Nepal.

It’s been an exciting and colour-filled month at the ChoraChori Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) in Kathmandu. For we have been delighted to host leading London-based Colombian artist, Dairo Vargas, who has held mental health art workshops at CRRC and at the nearby Kitini College. The visit has been supported by our partner charity Gandys Foundation, with Dairo being accompanied by the Foundation’s Trustee Preet Legha. Dairo has extensive experience in the use of art in managing mental health and in conducting workshops. These have included interacting with former FARC guerillas in his native Colombia. See how he operates his initiative #TheArtListens through this link.

Needless to say, this support has been invaluable in helping our management of children who have experienced extremes of abuse, including child rape, but also in raising awareness of mental health issues within the general population. This has included through coverage in The Nepali Times.

We’ll tell you more about these exciting workshops during our Big Give Christmas Appeal week from 3-10 December. Watch this space!

 

Join us for The Big Curry!

ChoraChori invites you to join us for The Big Curry fundraiser in December!

On December 7th 2019 we will be holding a very special international “Big Curry” event as part of our Christmas Big Give Appeal. Through the Appeal, we invite supporters to sit down for the perfect curry, wherever they are in the world, and afterwards donate a minimum of £5 online through the Big Give microsite. This will then double in value under the rules of The Big Give. Any major currency will be accepted on the site.

There will be a central lunch at The Gurkha Durbar restaurant in Grayshott, Hampshire, UK at 12.30 on the 7th. Friends around the world will be invited to join us – breakfast in America and dinner in Kathmandu and the Far East. Essentially we are inviting our supporters around the world to either get together with friends at a nearby Nepalese restaurant or, better still, cook the perfect curry for friends and family. Click on the adjacent image to see TV presenter and theatre actor Mark Curry (who else with a name like that?) show you how to cook the perfect curry with the guidance of Sudha Rai, the owner of The Gurkha Durbar.

At 1.30 p.m. on the day supporters can join us through the Appeal microsite for a live stream from The Gurkha Durbar where ChoraChori Founder, Philip Holmes, will tell you why we need these funds. And, surprise, surprise, he will introduce you to world record-breaking Himalayan mountaineer and former Gurkha/Special Forces soldier Nirmal (“Nims”) Purja MBE. At the time of writing Nims is at Base Camp of Shishapangma, the 14th and final peak of his incredible challenge, “Project Possible“. No doubt he’ll have some great experiences to share on the day!

Two of our Trustees, Phil Hunter and Rory Buckworth will be on a visit to Nepal on that date and they will host the evening function there. Hopefully, we can live stream that as well, although such connections are less predictable from Nepal….

 

 

New Developments in Chora Chori

Chora Chori serves to rescue children from trafficking and abusive situations, reintegrate back into society and provide rehabilitation. The extent of our work is beyond just simple tasks, and wouldn’t be possible without our ever committed team from Chora Chori Nepal (CCN). This month, CCN welcomed two team members into Chora Chori for its capacity enhancement.

Ms. Roma Bhandaree

“I am Roma Bhandaree, appointed as Deputy Director for Chora Chori Nepal. I am a master’s graduate in Social work from Tribhuwan University, and have been working in the child protection sector of Nepal for the past 6 years. Here at CCN, I am responsible for the holistic management, as well as coordinate with the Executive Director to oversee the operations, government liaison and administration in the organization.

Working at CCN for this last month has given me more exposure to how a work must be done with passion and dedication in a friendly environment, and taught me to work in coordination with other colleagues as well. Being a social worker, I always longed to work for humanity, which is exactly what our organization has been working for, so I am excited to work here with regards to my personal development field as well.”

Ms. Rojika Maharjan

“This is Rojika Maharjan, and I am the Development and Communications officer for Chora Chori. I recently graduated with my Master’s in Social Work, with specialization in children and family studies under the Erasmus program in Europe. I oversee the overall communications activity including child-centred communication strategic planning, website and blog management, social media management, assist in fundraising and reporting.

I am enlivened in my new role at CCN, where I have found the hopeful light of passion, love and dedication to help the children living in adverse conditions in Nepal. I really look forward to contribute in the child protection of Nepal, through my work in the communications. My role also gives me the opportunity to be creative and innovative as much as possible, and I love it.”

Chora Chori Nepal is actively developing major projects this year, and with that, it shall be reinforcing an equally dedicated team. It also seeks to establish a regional office in near future, to decentralize the work systematically.

Keep following our blog for more updates.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow up visit to Kitini College

ChoraChori Founder/CEO Philip Holmes today paid an evaluation and monitoring visit to Kitini College; he was greeted by a very happy Headteacher, staff and pupils.

Saroj KC, Headteacher of Kitini College, NepalIt is incumbent upon us to follow up the projects we fund; this is a task that includes through visits by the CEO and Trustees of the charity. The Treasurer makes an annual visit to review the local finances. Today Philip Holmes visited Kitini College which has received tens of thousands of pounds of funding from ChoraChori towards making this one of the top state schools in Nepal. Through grants secured from Foundations and some community fundraising, we have been able to pay for science laboratories and a computer lab that have allowed the school to extend its curriculum. Indeed it is currently making the transition from being a Nepali medium school to an English medium school. This represents a major step-up for Kitini.

The most recent project has been the retrofitting of the school to make it resistant to future earthquakes. Three-quarters of the £68k project has been funded through us by our UK partner Foundations while the remainder has been donated by a grant from the local municipality. The building works began in February and should be completed by the end of next month. There has been a slight delay due to the water supply drying up – a sign of the times, sadly, as in the recent past this part of the valley provided water to the rest of Kathmandu.

The Headteacher, Mr Saroj KC, pictured above with Bhaskar Karki and Shailaja CM of ChoraChori-Nepal, was beaming with delight. These works have meant so much to him not only for professional reasons but for very personal ones. For he told us today that he is a former pupil of the school and his father was once the Vice-Principal. This sense of ownership explains why he is so passionate about taking the school forward.

There was one other marker of success apart from the tangible ones that we saw today. Somewhat surprisingly, when we started working at the school we found that 70% of the pupils were girls. This is because parents were sending their sons to private schools so that they could have a better education. In the space of three years that percentage has dropped to 60% although the numbers of students at the school have increased substantially. Essentially, our enhancements are levelling the playing field and boys are now being transferred from nearby private schools to Kitini. Mr KC is confident that the proportion will be 50:50 very soon.

Our next major project at the school will be to establish a bursary scheme to begin at the start of the next academic year in April 2020. This will benefit children from the poorest families, irrespective of gender.

 

Final words on “As a Tiger in the Jungle” – and the future challenge for ChoraChori

Nepal performers Aman Tamang and Renu Ghalan in circus performanceBetween April and June 2019, contemporary circus show “As a Tiger in the Jungle” enjoyed a hugely successful tour of top venues across England and Wales, including the Glastonbury Festival. Nepalese performers Aman and Renu have now returned to Nepal but leave behind a powerful legacy of memorable performances and poignant messages.

Through “As a Tiger in the Jungle” Aman and Renu shared their experience of being trafficked from Nepal into slavery as “child performers”. See this previous blog post that gives the detail of this remarkable production. Between performances, they would take time out to give interviews on television and radio, ensuring that their message wasn’t confined only to those who attended the shows. Click on the image above to see their appearance on BBC Southeast during their visit to Brighton.

In May they laid on a special charity performance at Stratford Circus in London in support of ChoraChori’s Big Give summer appeal. Afterwards, ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes addressed the audience in which he reflected on his organisation’s previous rescue work of Philip Holmes, Founder ChoraChorihundreds of children, including Aman and Renu, and how the contemporary circus training had started out in 2011. Then he called for public support for the greater challenge that lies ahead, as ChoraChori tackles the burgeoning issue of child rape in Nepal. When you read press articles such as this one from last week’s Kathmandu Post, it brings sharply into focus just how much needs to be done – even in ensuring appropriate police management of survivors. You can see an extract of Philip’s speech by clicking on his image above.

Please do make a donation towards our vital work using the button below:

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ChoraChori update report, January – June 2019: “On fire”

ChoraChori can reflect upon a very, very positive first half of 2019 with remarkable progress in both the UK and Nepal.

Here is our update report that provides an excellent overview of our work and achievements at home and in Nepal. We have made a lasting difference to the lives of children and young people – like the graduates (pictured above) from our basic tailoring vocational training course. Huge thanks to our supporters without whom none of this would be possible!

Please note that we are now inviting pledges towards the Big Give Christmas appeal (sorry to mention Christmas in July – needs must). Before 31st August we need to find £25,000 in pledges from individuals, corporates and Trusts/Foundations that will provide a pot that can match online public donations during the appeal week that begins on the 3rd December. The minimum pledge is £100, with the pledge not payable until after the appeal ends on the 10th December. To make a pledge – and effectively double the impact of your donation – please visit this link.

Let’s ensure that this success continues!

 

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