Plans for Dhanusha

Through an extension of The Big Give, ChoraChori is raising seed funding for a new girls’ shelter at Dhanusha in southeast Nepal.

In my last blog post “Empowering Liza” I described how ChoraChori was able to empower child rape victim “Liza” into taking action against her attackers. Child rape is endemic in Liza’s home District of Dhanusha in southeast Nepal – see for example this harrowing report from February this year. This article from last month’s Nepali Times gives a very useful insight into the issues that are fuelling the rape crisis in that part of Nepal.

Speaking this morning to Bhaskar Karki, Executive Director and co-Founder of ChoraChori-Nepal, he repeated the importance of our establishing a presence in Dhanusha as soon as funds become available. Only then can we properly engage with the girls, families, communities and stakeholders that will allow us to make a difference to this unacceptable situation.

We have managed to secure some additional pledges that will allow donations towards this initiative to be matched up until 11 a.m. GMT on the 21st December when the Big Give will finally end for this year. Please use the button below to double your gift and help us make this major step forward.

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Our manifesto for 2020!

2019 has been a remarkable year so far for ChoraChori in Nepal; we’re aiming higher in 2020.

 Girls in the garden of ChoraChori’s Child Trauma Management Centre in Kathmandu

At a time when the UK is gripped with enthusiasm (not) at the prospect of a pre-Christmas general election, it is perhaps timely to illustrate what we have achieved in the real world in the past year and present our brief and achievable manifesto for 2020. Please take a few minutes to review this no-frills document that highlights ChoraChori achievements and objectives and think about how you might be able to help us.

Do remember that we do not receive any government funding and are entirely reliant on grants and donations, including through gifts in wills.

Any ideas, please do send them to ChoraChori’s Founder, Philip Holmes.

 

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.

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….

 

 

Everest Base Camp trek and marathon 2020

In May 2020 ChoraChori supporters will have the opportunity to join Founder Philip Holmes on a trek to Everest Base Camp with the option of taking part in the annual Everest Marathon on the 29th May.

These days, with so many summiting Everest, a trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) may seem like a comparatively modest undertaking. That is far from being the case, with many fit people underestimating the challenge and failing to reach EBC through altitude sickness. Tragically, each year there are a number of fatalities. For at 5,364m above sea level, the air is very thin with oxygen levels just 50% of what they are at sea level. But for those who trek with a reputable, safe company, the risks are minimal while the rewards are outstanding and unforgettable.

Next year ChoraChori, in conjunction with Nepal partner The Gandys Foundation, offer this trek of a lifetime between 19th and 31st May. This, of course, is also a fundraising activity that will be central to raising the funds we need next year, including through an associated Big Give summer appeal. At the end of the trek, the really fit members of the group, suitably acclimatised, can take on the Everest Marathon, which is held on the 29th May each year (the anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing’s reaching the summit). Downhill all the way from EBC, what could be easier? Finally, before returning home trekkers will have the opportunity to visit our remarkable Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) in Kathmandu to see what the fundraising has been all about.

Full details, costs and itinerary can be found here. If you would like to join us, please don’t delay in contacting Philip as now is the time to be aiming off and preparing for such a major personal challenge.

 

Gates of Bronze

ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes has published his memoir, Gates of Bronze, telling the remarkable story of how he responded to his first wife’s suicide by rescuing scores of Nepalese children from prisons, slavery, trafficking and exploitation.

In his book Philip quotes Winston Churchill who wrote “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm” and that has been Philip’s mantra for his twenty years of charitable work in Nepal. Through Gates of Bronze he tells how he responded to the suicide of his first wife, Esther Benjamins, by leaving a promising career as a British Army dental officer to set up a children’s charity in her memory. Working with passionate and committed colleagues in Nepal, he headed up programmes that rescued children from prisons, circus slavery, trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Yes, there has been setback after setback, but Philip can now reflect on operations that rescued over 1,000 children, restoring freedom and childhoods and giving them a chance in life.

The dramatic and moving narrative is illustrated by Philip’s own sketches and by colour photographs, many of which were taken by professional photographers who covered Philip’s work. Gates of Bronze is published by Juntara and can be purchased through this site where there is also a download option. 10% of the sale price is donated to ChoraChori’s ongoing work in Nepal.

Journalist and historian biographer Anne Sebba writes:

“Philip Holmes is a natural storyteller but also a fighter with endless enthusiasm which shines through these pages. It’s impossible not to read this book without believing that some people have the power to move mountains. He may be one of them.”

Supporting Bibash

ChoraChori returns Nepali children to Nepal by the bus-load!

Regular readers may recognise the title picture as it shows a group of 29 boys whom ChoraChori rescued from Delhi in December 2015. All have now returned to their families or been moved on into work, but we continue to support them after repatriation. Children like Bibash.

Bibash was born in a village in Kanchanpur in Nepal’s far West. Growing up was tough as he was bullied and mocked by the other children for having a visually impaired father and a mother who had lost a leg. His frustration was taken out on his parents until eventually he ran away from home. At the age of 15 he ventured into the unknown when he crossed the border into India.

Before long, Bibash was picked up by the Indian authorities and placed in a grim “children’s shelter” in Delhi. But ChoraChori’s field team traced him and rescued him along with 28 other boys on Christmas Eve 2015. After his tough experiences in India, he was very glad to return home and expressed his desire to return to school. With ChoraChori’s support he is now in Grade 9 where he is doing well academically. Bibash wants to join the Army and to that end is close to gaining his black belt in karate!

His daily journey to school involved an hour’s walk each way in all weathers. So, ChoraChori recently bought him a bike and he’s very happy with that. Most interestingly, his parents say that he has become very polite towards them and is now a son to be proud of as he assumes family responsibilities.

The price of success is not necessarily that high in Nepal and we continue to transform children’s lives and possibilities through relatively modest, but targeted investments. But we are all too aware that there are still many kids like Bibash awaiting our rescue from India. We can only do that after we set up a new boys’ transit hostel in Kathmandu; we have had to suspend repatriations after we began taking child rape victims into our existing Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre and obviously the two beneficiary groups could not be accommodated on the same site.

We need your help! We have launched our Big Give summer appeal to help raise the funds we need for this new project and for new training opportunities for girls. Until the 28th May all online donations will double in value – one donation, twice the impact! Please use the button below to help us help more children like Bibash in the future. Many thanks!

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CONTACT US!

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