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!

donate to ChoraChori

 

The ChoraChori Big Give summer appeal

From today your online donation towards our work will double in value through our special Big Give summer appeal.

Through this appeal we will be raising vital funds to expand our childcare and training facilities at our Kathmandu centre. Please check out our site where you can make a secure donation now. One donation, twice the impact!

As a Tiger in the Jungle returns to UK!

Nepalese contemporary circus performers Aman Tamang and Renu Ghalan return to UK to stage their acclaimed show about child trafficking, “As a Tiger in the Jungle”.

We are delighted to let you know that Cirkus Xanti (Norway) and Ali Williams Productions will once again present their poignant and heart-warming performance about rescued child slaves from Indian traditional circus. Through the show, two performers from Nepal, Renu and Aman, both child trafficking survivors, ask questions about life, love, poverty and greed. Using the spoken word, movement, circus and ceremony, they tell the story of how, against all odds, they survived child slavery to create their own destiny. To get a glimpse of their breath-taking skills, click on the image on the left for a preview.

Aman and Renu are just two of the 700 Nepalese children who were liberated from circus slavery during the period 2004-2011 when ChoraChori co-Founder Philip Holmes was based in Nepal and headed up the anti trafficking programme. This show highlights a tragedy that still befalls hundreds of Nepalese children every year, albeit into different situations.

Here are the venues and dates for your diary:

4 April:             Enableus Fest Sheffield University, Octagon Centre, Clarkson Street, Sheffield, S10 2TQ
16 April:           Ffwrnes Park Street, Llanelli, SA15 3YE
17 – 18 April:  Circomedia Portland Square, St Paul’s, Bristol,BS2 8SJ
2 – 3 May:       Riverfront Theatre King’s Way, Newport, NP60 1HG
9 May:              Lincoln Drill Hall Free School Lane, Lincoln, LN2 1EY
12 May:            Aberystwyth Arts Centre Penglais Campus, University of Aberystwyth SY23 3DE
17 May:            Stratford Circus Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Theatre Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BX
22 – 25 May:  Brighton Fringe Brighton Open Air Theatre, Park Dyke Road, Hove,BN3 6EH
29 May:           Warwick Arts Centre University of Warwick, Coventry,CV4 7AL
31 May:            The Civic in Barnsley Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ
6 June:             Salisbury Festival Salisbury Playhouse
7 – 8 June:      Theatre Brycheniog Canal Wharf, Brecon, LD3 7EW
14 June:           Galeri Doc Victoria, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SQ
21 – 23 June: Theatr Mwldan Bath House Road, Cardigan SA43 1JY
26 – 30 June: Glastonbury Festival Worthy Farm, Worthy Lane, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4BY

The 17th May performance will be a special ticket-only event for ChoraChori supporters and friends. Please let us know if you would like to attend. If you can’t make any of these venues or dates please make a donation using the button below. Thanks!

donate to ChoraChori

Remembering ChoraChori in your Will

Remembering ChoraChori in your will is a low cost way of making a major difference to our future work in Nepal, transforming the lives of vulnerable girls for years to come. Here’s some advice.

A will is not something that we like to think about much, but any reputable Financial Advisor will tell you that it’s the first step in drawing up a watertight personal financial plan. Dying intestate passes on an administrative and emotional burden to loved ones that can take months or even years to resolve and result in an outcome that can be substantially to the benefit of the taxman. So, above all, please do write a will and take proper professional advice (i.e. a solicitor) to ensure that your final wishes are implemented properly and that there can be no disputes.

From a charity point of view, leaving a part or your entire estate to ChoraChori can reduce, and in some situations, eliminate your Inheritance Tax liability. If you leave something towards our work in your will, then it won’t count towards the total taxable value of your estate. This is called leaving a ‘charitable legacy’. You can also cut the Inheritance Tax rate on the rest of your estate from 40% to 36%, if you leave at least 10% of your ‘net estate’ to us.

To illustrate how this would work, let’s say that when you died:

  • your net estate was worth £425,000
  • in your will, you left it all to your partner who lives with you
  • you have your full Inheritance Tax allowance (currently £325,000 for the 2018/19 tax year)
  • you weren’t married or in a civil partnership (the spouse exemption is not available if you are not married)
  • thus, the ‘net estate’ is £100,000 (i.e. £425,000 minus £325,000). And there is Inheritance Tax to pay on £100,000 at a rate of 40%
  • so, your estate’s would have to pay a tax bill of £40,000 (i.e. 40% of £100,000).

But if you wanted to reduce the tax bill by making a charitable gift:

  • you’d leave your partner £415,000, and
  • £10,000 to ChoraChori in your will (which is 10% of your ‘net value’ of £100,000)
  • the estate would then pay 36% on £90,000 worth of assets instead. This means that your estate would pay £32,400 in Inheritance Tax.

While this would mean your partner receives less when you die, in this example making a charitable legacy would shave off £7,600 from the Inheritance Tax bill. This is worth considering if you’re keen to support us even after your death.

There’s of course nothing to stop you from giving to ChoraChori right away and any donation won’t be counted as part of your estate when you die. Again, this could cut or even eliminate any Inheritance Tax there is to pay upon death with of course associated Gift Aid benefits while you are still alive.

If you want to leave us a gift in your will, you can leave it either as:

  • a fixed amount of money, known as a ‘pecuniary legacy’
  • a share of what’s left of your estate once all costs and other legacies are paid out, known as a ‘residuary legacy’.

The former can of course effectively decrease in value between the time of the will being written and its being proved, so the latter may give a better reflection of your original charitable intentions.

When you are writing the will make sure that you, or the person writing your will, includes all the information your executor will need to understand what you want to happen. This should include:

  • our name “ChoraChori”, spelled correctly (so there are no arguments!)
  • our registered number – 1159770 – and address – Three Ways, Ledstone, Kingsbridge TQ7 2HQ UK
  • a receipt clause so that our treasurer can accept the bequest
  • a merger clause so if we have merged or ceased to exist, your executor can pay the legacy to the new charity or a charity with similar charitable values.

At the moment we would like to build a fund that will be primarily for the education of vulnerable girls in Nepal, including child rape victims, but of course programmes and priorities can change. So, it would help if interests are stated while leaving the final decisions to the discretion of the Trustees.

If you would like to discuss specific wishes or have any further confidential guidance please contact ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes using this link.

 

The Big Give 2018

For the third successive year ChoraChori is taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge, our major annual fundraising drive.

At ChoraChori we began thinking about Christmas in June, searching for Trusts, corporates and individuals who’d be willing to make matching pledges towards this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge. And we were very successful, building a “pot” of £30,000 ready to match online donations from supporters this week. The Challenge started today at noon and runs until noon on the 4th December during which time we hope to meet our overall target of £60,000 through the powerful incentive of gifts automatically doubling in value. These are funds that we so badly need to continue our child rescue and rehabilitation work in 2019, including providing support to child rape victims and their families.

This year the charity is benefiting from an online appeal by Nepalese-Ukrainian actress Amrita Acharia. Amrita, has Amrita Acharia, Nepal, ChoraChoriacted in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, UK TV series “The Good Karma Hospital”, the Norwegian TV series “Acquitted” and in the forthcoming animation “The Missing Link”. She has been very ready to provide her support to a charity and a cause that are very close to her heart. Amrita says “One of the biggest things that gave me the chance to pursue my career was the fact my father was educated, and he made sure we were educated and taught self-respect. When we moved away from Nepal, it was the fruit of the education that gave us stability and the chance to follow our dreams in less stable careers. I love it that ChoraChori works on empowering young girls after these experiences and gives them tools rather than just rescuing and dumping them in an orphanage”.

Amrita was born in Kathmandu but her family moved to England when she was six years old. She spent some of her early life in the Ukraine and attended High School in Norway where her father is an Obstetrician. Amrita is now looking forward to a long overdue return visit to Nepal at Christmas – her first in 16 years. In Kathmandu she’ll be joined by ChoraChori’s Founder, Lt Col Philip Holmes, for a New Year visit to ChoraChori’s facilities in Thaukel.

To see Amrita’s appeal and double your money in a gift to ChoraChori just click on the image!

 

The 2018 Big Give Christmas Challenge – we need your help!

The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2018ChoraChori is fundraising for the 2019 operational costs of our Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre in Kathmandu through The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2018. We need your help!

Christmas thoughts in May

At ChoraChori preparations for The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2018 started in May as we began searching for individuals and organisations who would be willing to make pledges. Those pledges make up a matching fund that can allow doubling of all online donations that we receive during the public phase of the Challenge. This runs for one week from noon on the 27th November to noon on the 4th December. This year we’ve managed to find a staggering £20,000 in pledges from our own network and £10,000 from an anonymous “Champion” that the Big Give provided from its resources. Therefore our total fundraising, if successful, could raise £60,000 towards the operation of our Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre in Kathmandu. You can read the project outline through this link.

How you can help

We need your help if we are to make a success of this Appeal. First of all – and most importantly – don’t donate now! Online gifts won’t be doubled until the start of the Challenge on the 27th November. Instead, please visit the microsite we have set up specially for the Challenge. This tells you everything you need to know and gives an overview of our work. There’s also an appeal on behalf of child rape victims from actress Amrita Acharia who has acted in Game of Thrones and starred in The Good Karma Hospital. The idea is that at this stage visitors to the microsite can sign up to be given a reminder on the day that the Appeal starts.

Please share the microsite with friends and family. Think also about any organisation, school, place of worship, business or club that you might be able to introduce us to and that might wish to make their Christmas donations through us. If you have any ideas, just drop me a line.

 

Success at the Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland conference

Soroptimist conference

Delegates at the Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Federation annual conference have chosen ChoraChori’s project “Empowering girls in Nepal” as the new Federation project for 2019 – 2022.

Yesterday Philip Holmes, CEO/Founder of ChoraChori, gave a joint presentation on our work with the President of Bridgend and District Soroptimist International Club, Helen Murdoch. They were going head to head with three other charities, including the excellent Rosie May Foundation and Act4Africa charities and the Women into Stem project in competition to be the chosen Federation charity for 2019-2022. Each presentation had to be for three minutes (at which point the microphone would cut out) followed by 4 minutes of questions. For Philip it felt rather like speed-dating with the 1200 attendees at the ACC conference centre in Liverpool!

Our presentation is outlined in this link, with our pitch being for £105,000 over three years towards giving girls a combination of skills and schooling towards gainful employment and the operation of a half-way house where girls can be safe during rehabilitation and training. The beneficiaries would be a combination of child rape survivors and vulnerable girls from the tea plantations of Jhapa, a follow on from the pilot project we began in July.

Being well-rehearsed, we completed our presentation on time and without any problems. But the nerve-wracking part was the vote that followed. Delegates were able to record their votes using key pads the outcome of which was shown on the big screen behind the stage. At the first count we came in second place behind Women into STEM. However the rules stated that the winning charity had to have at least 51% of the vote so the third and fourth place charities were eliminated and we had a second vote to endure. We almost felt like watching the ten second countdown on the screen through our fingers! The final score was 53% for ChoraChori and 47% for Women into Stem. We’d won and it was hugs all round.

We are of course thrilled by this outcome and feel privileged to work with our friends at SIGBI Federation in the coming time. For this is not a grant; rather it is a collaboration that will be fulfilling for all of us and life-changing for the girls. We will have to fundraise together which should be huge fun while we at ChoraChori will still need to find the funds elsewhere for the other elements of our Nepal programmes, including child trauma management.

For now though, it’s time for a little celebration. Huge thanks must go to Helen Murdoch and Rayner Rees and their fellow club members at Bridgend who have been awesome in the build up to this success. And a wee thank you to New Zealand Soroptimists Sarah Lucas-Broughton and Valda McBeth who gave us the introduction to the wonderful world of Soroptimists in the first place!

Some scenes from yesterday:

Guest speaker Terry Waite who presented just before us.

 

It didn’t seem to matter that I forgot to do up my tie!

Bridgend President, Helen Murdoch, keeping me in order

 

Fingers on pads for the vote….

A handshake of congratulations from Mary Storrie, Founder of the Rosie May Foundation

And a well-deserved hug to Rayner Rees! 

 

London Marathon 2019

We’re inviting participants in next year’s London Marathon to join ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes and run in support of our work in Nepal.

This week Philip Holmes was shocked to secure a place in the 2019 London Marathon through the public ballot. After failing to do so for the past three years and with Father Time catching up on him he’d resigned himself to settling for his three previous medals – 2011, 2012 and 2015. But no, it’s time to stock up on the Lucozade Sport – that ceases to be enjoyable after the first bottle – and the various other bits and pieces that will (hopefully) ensure his survival.

With 414,000 applicants in the London Marathon public ballot there are an awful lot of disappointed aspiring runners out there and we wish we could help but unfortunately we never have an allocation of guaranteed places. Those are restricted to the older charities that were there at the ground floor when the London Marathon was first set up. However, if you are one of the lucky ones, perhaps you’d consider joining Philip in crossing the start line on the 28th April 2019? We don’t offer any fancy support packages – we’re not that sort of charity; instead we hope that a bit of mutual moral support during training and the knowledge that you’re running for such a worthwhile charity is enough to encourage you to join us.

If you’d like to become part of the team then drop Philip a line through this link.

Amrita Acharia

Game of Thrones” and “The Good Karma Hospital” actress Amrita Acharia will be supporting ChoraChori in this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge.

Amrita Acharia, Nepal, ChoraChoriSorry to mention Christmas in mid-September, but we are excited to announce that Amrita Acharia will be supporting us in this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge. Through the Challenge we are aiming to raise £80,000 towards our Child Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Kathmandu. In the week beginning 27th November all online donations will be automatically doubled in value through matching pledges we have been securing throughout the summer. On the 27th evening we will be launching the Appeal with a special fundraising dinner night to be held at The Victory Services Club, near Marble Arch in London. Diners will have the chance to meet not only Amrita herself but also the Trustees and some of the wonderful volunteers who’ve supported us this year. If you would like to join us for what will be a very special evening then please drop me a line.

Amrita has a Nepalese father and a Ukrainian mother. She grew up in Ukraine, Kathmandu and England before moving with her family to Norway at the age of 13. Amrita is probably best known for her role as “Irri” in the award-winning HBO series “Game of Thrones” and Norwegian crime drama “Acquitted”. She is also the leading character “Dr Ruby Walker” in the ITV’s primetime medical drama “The Good Karma Hospital” (centre of title picture). It is currently filming its third series that is due for release in early 2019. Amrita’s film credits include Norway ‘s critically acclaimed “I am Yours”, cult classic “Dead Snow 2”, the new Sci-Fi saga “Genesis” alongside Olivia Grant and John Hannah, and British indie “White Chamber” directed by Paul Raschid. Her first animated feature “Missing Link“, from Lionsgate featuring an all-star voice cast including Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson, and Stephen Fry, is due to be out early next year.

Amrita will be making a long-overdue visit to Nepal over Christmas and New Year when she can expect the warmest of welcomes from our wonderful team and some very excited children at our refuge.

#ChristmasChallenge18

 

CONTACT US!

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