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An evening of Nepalese culture raises much needed funds for a children's charity.

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MarpleNew MillsNepalInidira Ranamagar

Indira Ranamagar, founder of the Prisoners Assistance Nepal; trustees of the Nepalese Children's Trust - Linda Murray, Gwenda Culkin, Sandra McKnight, Pam Francis. The Nepalese Children's Trust has supported Prisoners Assistance Nepal since 2003. 

The mountainous country of Nepal is perhaps not the first place that springs to mind when thinking about our area, but thanks to a link formed fourteen years ago the award-winning head of a Nepalese charity visited both Marple and New Mills, giving an insight into her work and explaining how donations were helping fund a vital children's project.

Inidira Ranamagar, a former teacher in Kathmandu, is working to improve the situation for prisoners and their families in her home country. Under the Nepalese legal system, those accused of crimes can be held, sometimes for many years, ahead of any trial. Although some seventy-five per cent of them are ultimately found to be innocent, they are held in harsh conditions while waiting for their cases to be heard. This leads to a number of problems for prisoners and their families; children are hit particularly hard. Indira formed the  Prisoners' Assistance Nepal Charity in 2000, and has since worked tirelessly to improve conditions, provide advocacy services and support prisoners upon their release.

The charity has set up a number of homes to care for and educate the children of Nepal's prisoners, who would otherwise be facing extreme hardship. It was to one such home that Linda Murray travelled in 2003, on a three month sabbatical to assist with voluntary work in the country. The experience opened her eyes to the largely unknown situation. When her sister, Gwenda Culkin, paid a visit with some friends, they decided to help where they could. Identifying a need for books and materials, it was agreed to set aside a room to be used as a library.

Returning to her New Mills home, Gwenda started raising funds, formally setting up the Nepalese Children's Trust in 2007. The Trust supports various projects throughout Nepal, predominantly by providing money to pay for food and clothing.

Earlier this month Indira visited the UK. During her short stay she spent two days at the Marple home of Maggie Evans, another of the trustees (and a Marple Review distributor). Taking time off from fundraising activities, they took in some of the local sights with bike rides along the Middlewood Way and canal towpaths – a much needed break.

On Friday 7th May around seventy people attended New Mills Town Hall for 'A Taste Of Nepal'. Nepalese food and music was on offer (Indira is an amateur musician) and goods from the country were on sale. Indira gave a presentation about her work.  In all, around £1500 was raised by the event which was added to £2100 already raised by the Trust. This will feed the affected children for a period of six months. Full details can be found at www.nepalesechildrenstrust.co.uk