Casey established the nonprofit in 2007 with help from local attorney and LBCF Trustee Tom Davis and support from fellow parishioners at St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church. She felt she had to take action after seeing ill, abandoned children begging in the streets of Nepal’s villages and cities when she visited Nepal on a trekking tour in 2004.
Chhahari provides shelter, clothes, food and education for 23 children ages 5 to 17 at a rented house in central Kathmandu.
“As you may well expect, we are having all sorts of problems: water, electricity, food, shelter and now the scare of many different illnesses,” Casey wrote.
The children at the facility are safe, as are the caretaker couple and their two young sons. A nurse from Germany was able to fly into Nepal and administered cholera medications as a precautionary measure before she went to serve at a hospital for several weeks.
Even with such hardship, Christine and Ongmu decided on a plan to have the Chhahari children participate in helping a few of the hardest hit villages here in the Kathmandu valley. Ongmu explained to the children the sad circumstances of some people living very close and asked each child to go to their cupboard and choose some clothes to give other children. They were all anxious and happy to run to their rooms and pick out something to put into the bag. Below is a picture of the children eagerly packing their clothes to help others in need.
Children at Chhahari, which means “shelter” in Nepalese, are also given medical and dental care, and they participate in activities like music, dance, art, annual picnics, lunch outings and celebrations of Hindu and Buddhist festival days.
Many of you have asked how best to help. The very best way to help right now is with monetary donations. Chris uses every rupee to make sure the 23 children at Chhahari and the neighbors with whom she always shares get the food, water, medicine and other basics they need. Sadly, price gouging is rampant. The older children are helping with search and rescue operations – a difficult, horrendous task for a teenager, but they are brave and strong, and Chris is there to guide and comfort them. Some of the smaller children are paralyzed with fear but all are being lovingly cared for. As difficult as it is, Chris says they will survive this. She wishes to express her deepest thanks for your prayers and financial help.
Donations can be made by mailing or hand-delivering a check to Union Bank, Laguna Beach Office, 299 Broadway, Laguna Beach CA 92651; make the check out to Chhahari, Inc. (spelling and punctuation count!). If mailing a check, write in the memo line “Donation to account ending in 6279.” You can also donate online at www.chhahari.org
Story, photos and updates provided by Barbara McMurray.