By Barbara McMurray, Special to the Independent
Laguna Beach resident Christine Casey and her nonprofit home for orphaned Nepalese children, Chhahari (“shelter” in Nepali), received a colorful introduction to the community at a recent Saturday night soiree.
Seven Tibetan Buddhist monks, visiting Laguna Beach for Tibet Cultural Week, performed an elaborate blessing for the orphanage and the evening’s 200 guests, tossing rice grains, playing music, and chanting with their distinctive throat singing.
The party took place in the recently renovated offices of attorney Tom Davis, who serves on Chhaharhi’s board. “I was fascinated from my first telephone conversation with Chris when she called to ask a question about forming a nonprofit,” Davis told the crowd. “I so admire what she is doing and the high standards she maintains at every step, I had to become more involved.”
Attended by clients and friends of Davis Law and the guests of local Chhahari board members Barbara Ash, Peggy Long, Ann Shea, Laura Hansen and Barbara McMurray, the event drew attention to the problems in an unstable country where abandoned and orphaned children lack social welfare programs.
Chhahari’s founder and president Casey trekked in Nepal in 2006 and was appalled at the hungry, sick street children whose parents had either died, disappeared, or were too poor or ill to care for them.
“Because the political situation is highly volatile, children without parents often lead lives of poverty, malnutrition, drug addiction, sexual exploitation, and the risk of being murdered for their organs or sold to Indian circus acts as animal bait,” Casey explained to guests.
She returned home determined to help. Today, Chhahari, a simple building in the Kathmandu Valley, provides a family-like atmosphere for 22 children whose futures would otherwise be bleak on an annual budget of $28,000.
To learn more or to donate, visit www.chhahari.org or call Chris Casey at 949-306-3125 or Tom Davis at Davis Law, 949-376-2828.
Laguna Beach resident Barbara McMurray is a Chhahari board member.