Working with Unity In Health

ChoraChori is very proud to work with another small UK-registered charity, Unity in Health, in its management of child trauma in Nepal.

“Why don’t small charities pool their resources rather than having a situation of lots of them doing their own thing? Couldn’t cooperation, even merger, lead to economy of scale?” This is a commonly heard challenge and one that ChoraChori accepts up to a point. Whilst the identities and heritage of small grassroots charities can be a source of strength in themselves (engendering a family spirit within the team and its supporters), collaboration can certainly lead to reduction of waste and a tremendous synergy.

A case in point is our partnership with Unity In Health, which works alongside us in managing child trauma and mental health issues at our Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) in Kathmandu. Unity in Health has a central role in clinical support to our team at the child trauma management centre by Skype and through visits. Indeed, the Founder of Unity In Health, Joao Marcal-Grilo is in Nepal at the time of writing. His charity also covers the salary costs of one of the key staff members at the centre who will be heading up a Unity In Health inspired follow-up programme in the coming time. And last month, following a successful fundraiser in Singapore, Unity In Health was able to buy a jeep that has become a shared asset, with ChoraChori able to use it for field visits and to transport beneficiaries between their homes and our centre.

To read more about Unity In Health, see this very well-written article that has just been published. Partnerships are the way ahead in 2019. In a previous post we described the forthcoming collaboration with The Soroptimist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland and we are working on a further exciting partnership at the time of writing (watch this space!).

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Child trauma management at the ChoraChori children’s refuge in Nepal

child trauma NepalMilan’s story

Child trauma can present itself almost immediately in the Nepali kids we rescue from India. For example, ChoraChori-Nepal refuge staff member Sujit Thapa remembers all too well how Milan (name changed) was on his first day after we repatriated him from India. Sujit says “He was a loner who looked very scared and traumatised, speaking to no one and not answering any questions. He was also very aggressive and attacked staff members several times. It was very difficult to manage him”.

A violent father

Milan became particularly aggressive if anyone asked him about his home or family. However after spending time in the healing environment of the refuge and receiving counselling sessions from our newly appointed psychosocial counsellor, Sailu Rajbhandari, he has begun to open up about his past. We found out why he has scars on his head and legs. For Milan’s father would be drunk every day and used to beat his mother, siblings and himself, on occasions using fire tongs. One day his mother couldn’t take this anymore and fled with Milan’s younger sister and brother. Her whereabouts are unknown. This left six year old Milan to endure another four years of violence before he too ran away, in his case across the border into the abyss of India.

Trauma management

Sujit continues: “Milan has changed a lot since his arrival at the refuge. Now I think he has started to accept the facts about his father and find a place for it. He still isn’t sharing his address though, perhaps out of fear of being returned there.” As you can see from the picture above his interactions with the other children are improving too.

Milan is one of the 110 Nepalese children whom ChoraChori-Nepal has rescued from India. Most have experienced some degree of child trauma, be it physical, psychological or sexual. If, like Milan, this has arisen at home and caused them to run away then of course we can’t return them to that situation. Instead we need to continue to care for them at our refuge, including providing education and training, until they are able to look after themselves. Our Child Trauma Management Centre, which is on the same site as the refuge, is central to that care.

In August we were delighted to appoint Sailu as the Clinical Director at the Centre. As a former lecturer at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) in Kathmandu she is very well qualified to take up the challenge of managing child trauma cases. She has been getting to know the refuge children and conducting individual and group assessments. Also she has been training the care staff in how to deal with behavioural problems. After she has settled in we look forward to applying the healing power of art to complement her therapy.

Hope for the future

As it happens, Milan enjoys art and dancing. He has been inspired by two of the other boys starting a vocational training course as motorbike mechanics and hopes to follow in their footsteps. However these courses are quite expensive and we are keen to identify supporters who might be able to offer short term training sponsorships. Supporters whose investment can change a teenager’s life for good. If you can help, please drop me a line.

GlobalGiving matched funding campaign

ChoraChori’s response to the Nepal earthquake of 2015

Today is the second anniversary of the Nepal earthquake that killed 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. But there was a less obvious consequence of this disaster and to a second earthquake that followed in May 2015. Hundreds of children fled the destruction and chaos to seek a better life in India while child trafficking spiked. Sadly, for the child migrants too often this became a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire”. The Indian authorities picked up many children and effectively imprisoned them in squalid “children’s shelters”. And two years on most children who left Nepal are still missing.

Rescuing Nepali kids

Since August 2015 ChoraChori has been unique in sending rescue teams into India to find Nepal’s lost children and bring them home. So far we’ve rescued 105 children including 33 in one operation last month. We have been successful in our Aim of returning children to their families. Only 32 returnees are still in our care while we continue their rehabilitation. That’s because we are finding some children have returned with a legacy of mental trauma of a scale that is unprecedented in our work. We are having to manage little boys who have been diagnosed as being at risk of suicide. One girl in her early teens spent a year locked up in a brothel.

Our GlobalGiving campaign

To meet the need ChoraChori has built a child trauma management centre collocated with our Kathmandu refuge. We funded this capital project entirely through the “Taking the High Road” cycle challenge last year. Now we aim to launch the childcare programme through an online appeal using the GlobalGiving platform. To mark the second anniversary of the Nepal earthquake, GlobalGiving will be matching all online donations at 50%. In other words a £10 gift becomes £15 – or equivalent in any major currency – up to a maximum donation of £800 (i.e. US$1,000). The campaign went live at 2 p.m. UK time today. There is an added incentive for participating charities: GlobalGiving will also be awarding two prizes of £800 in the first 24 hours of the challenge. One will be for the most funds raised and the other for the most individual donors.

How to help us

ChoraChori child trauma management centre

The newly completed child trauma management centre

Please join me by donating and sharing this post as widely as you can. I would love ChoraChori to claim at least one of these prizes! You can find the appeal page using the button below:donate to ChoraChori

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