Welcome to...The Esther Benjamin's Trust website!
Esther Benjamins 1955-1999
Esther Benjamin's Trust was formed in September 1999 by Army officer Lt Col Philip Holmes. It was started in the memory of his wife who took her own life in January in that year because childlessness. At the time of her death Esther was a judge who had a sense of justice for the deserted and mistreated children. Because she had a deep love for children, Philip's reaction to this tragedy was to leave the Army and start and run a UK-registered Registration No 1078187 children's charity in her name.
The Trust has a worldwide remit. Its mission statement is "The Esther Benjamins Trust is committed to the cause of disadvantaged children whose future as happy and healthy adults is threatened. We endeavor to give them back their childhood by providing a secure, caring environment in which they are lovingly nurtured."
Method of operation
The Esther Benjamins Trust does its projects with a partner organization, the Nepal Child Welfare Foundation (NCWF) which it helped establish in March 2000. The NCWF has a core administration resulting from former British Army Gurkhas and has quickly established a reputation for itself as one of the top childcare NGO's in Nepal. The NCWF's projects are carried out within the surrounding area of its headquarters in Bhairahawa, southwest Nepal, thus guarantee close supervision and high quality outcomes.
Jail children - Our main project is to release innocent children that have been imprisoned with their parents. We've freed 40 boys and girls and are caring for them in NCWF refuge homes in Bhairahawa. At the same time, we became aware of the troubles of these children through national and international media. In November 2001 the Government of Nepal finally banned the jailing of children and it caused our project plans secured four years ahead of schedule. We will take care of the children until they become adults or until they can be reunited with their parents.
We also support a school for deaf children, including the construction of classrooms (through funding support by Need in Nepal), funding 27 scholarships and 2 deaf teachers, running professional training courses and a tailor's shop for ex-students so that they can sell their products. We also fund a small orphanage in Mangalapur, a disabled day care centre in Butwal, and education for the children of a poor gypsy (Ghandarva) community.
There is also our night shelter for street children which is a major ongoing project. The numbers of street children in Nepal have been increasing because of the Maoist insurgency, and in August 2002 we established an emergency night shelter in rented premises to address this problem in the town of Butwal, a short distance from our HQ in Bhairahawa. This has been a huge success and there are even some younger children who are keen to get off the streets and back into formal schooling. These children will soon join those in our main refuge homes in Bhairahawa and be enrolled in the local school. For the older children at the shelter we are looking at restore them through training to give them skills to help them earn a living.