About Us

Our Story


In 1999 The Esther Benjamins Trust was set up by Philip Holmes in memory of his late wife. Initially the charity rescued and looked after children from Kathmandu prisons who had been jailed with their parents. It then started rescuing Nepali children who had been trafficked across the border into Indian circuses, bringing them back to Nepal. Their success in this area resulted in many prosecutions and a complete ban on Nepali children in Indian circuses.

In 2015 the name was changed, with the support of Esther’s family, to Child Rescue Nepal to more clearly reflect the work that we do. Philip is no longer involved with Child Rescue Nepal but continues to work in Nepal on various projects.

In 2016, we reviewed our progress and set ourselves an exciting new ambition: To end all child trafficking in Nepal. With a renewed focus on rescues, we won’t stop until every child in Nepal is free.

Prosecuting Traffickers

Our key successes include:

  • Raising over £7 million for Nepal’s children
  • Rescuing over 850 children, with ongoing support in many cases
  • Pursuing the prosecution of 24 traffickers, helping to jail 14 in Nepal and India
  • Improving education for over 50,000 children in the trafficking-prone district of Makwanpur
  • Raising £150,000 for earthquake relief in 2015 and helping to rebuild 23 schools
  • Raising over £100,000 towards Covid relief including emergency equipment and food parcels

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Who We Are

UK Staff Team

Jo Bega, Chief Executive

Jo has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years and has extensive experience in charity management, fundraising and marketing. She was a VSO volunteer in South Africa for two years and has worked in the disability and development sectors including Livability, Tearfund and Christian Aid. Most recently Jo has worked at the Orpheus Centre, a specialist college for young disabled adults, where she raised over £1.5m. With two school-aged children, Jo doesn’t have a lot of spare time but she does manage to sing in a gospel choir and regularly post photos on Instagram.


Chair: Dave Webber

Dave has recently retired from disability charity Livability, where he worked for 15 years, the last five as Chief Executive. One of Livability’s most innovative projects was a spinal injury unit in Kathmandu. Alongside his career in social care, Dave is a well-established folk musician and has just published his first novel.

Nick Sankey

Nick has been involved with Child Rescue Nepal since 2004, first a volunteer, then staff member in Nepal and since 2014 as a trustee. Whilst working for CRN in Nepal, he met his wife Rama and learned to speak Nepali. After returning to the UK he moved into fundraising and is now Director of Fundraising at Pratham UK. Nick has jumped out of a plane for CRN, did a mud run with Rama and ran the first virtual London Marathon for us with plans to run the ‘real’ one in 2021.

Soya Budhathoki

Soya is a British/Nepalese – born and raised in Kathmandu until the age of 16. She is a community fundraising lead and has a real passion for the changes that charitable organisations are positioned to make. Soya is both professionally and personally linked to significant amounts of money raised across the charitable sector, working across various children’s charities, and volunteering her time to both small and large-scale campaigns, initiatives, and projects. In her spare time, Soya is an avid swimmer and has a keen interest in literature and music. She thoroughly enjoys long summer walks as well as adrenaline fuelled activities such as cliff jumping and dancing!

Michele Turner

Michele has over 20 years’ experience in international development and volunteer management, significantly with VSO. She has held four regional or country management positions for programmes in Asia and has lived in Kazakhstan, India and Fiji. She is currently Managing Director for World Learning Europe.

Jonathan Pow

Jonathan joined as a trustee in 2017. He holds both AAT and CIMA accounting qualifications and has 9 years of accounting experience in various fields. He studied Physiological Sciences at Newcastle University and has a keen interest in travelling.

David Nicholls

David has nearly a decade’s experience of voluntary and charitable organisations.  He was a trustee of the North Kensington Law Centre for 6 years.  He is currently a Governor of an inner-city state school and a trustee of a local youth centre.  He has been a barrister since 2002 and specialises in property and commercial law.

Joanna Lee

Joanna has completed a Master’s degree in social work, and as a social worker she has a particular focus on child exploitation, safeguarding, and Young Peoples mental health. Prior to training as a social worker Joanna completed a degree in Social Anthropology. In 2006 she volunteered with EBMF in Nepal, and then returned in 2008 to undertake research for her dissertation on the response of NGOs to the human trafficking situation in Nepal.

David Westgate

David is CEO of Andrews Property Group which is owned by two charitable Trusts benefiting from a share of Andrews profits. He is a chartered surveyor and brings property skills to the charity. David has the privilege of being a CEO of the Company and Trustee of the Andrews Charitable Trust. His experience with charitable trusts over the last 20 years has enabled a valuable insight into a variety of organisations in the UK and overseas.

Lydia Baker

Lydia has worked in international development for 15 years and has an MSc in International Development from Reading University. She has lived and worked in a number of different countries across Asia and Africa and specialises in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency preparedness, especially in the education sector. She was based in Nepal for two years after the 2015 earthquake where she worked closely with the Ministry of Education and a number of UN and NGO partners to incorporate safe schools into the national education sector plan.

Child Rescue Nepal Trustees Jagan Karki

Jagan Karki

Jagan is a business consultant at the LDC media service and is editor of the London-based South Asia Time online portal. He has over 20 years of involvement in his academic career and currently works as a lecturer in London. He has an MSc in Finance, and MA in Sociology and completed a Doctorate degree. Jagan has been involved in the voluntary sector since his student days and he has also served as a Parent Governor at a local Primary school. He is involved in fundraising for charitable causes in association with organisations Nepal Run, Nepalese British Community and World Child Cancer, among others.

CRN Nepal

Jamuna Shrestha, Country Director

Jamuna Shrestha Bhattarai has two postgraduate degrees and 24 years’ experience in the development sector. Based in the Kathmandu office of CRN, she leads the CRN team in Nepal. She is interested in building resilience in communities and providing good quality education, healthcare and job opportunities for children and their families who are struggling to secure their basic needs and rights.

Roshna Lama, Accountant

Roshna Lama has worked at CRN Nepal since 2007. She has a BA in Management Accounting and Finance, as well as qualifications in Finances and Accounting Systems and computer training.

Partners: EBMF

Karnasher Tamang MBE, Chairman

Karna has been involved with the work of CRN from the start. Before that, he had a long and distinguished career in the Queen’s Gurkha Signal Regiment and was decorated by HRH The Prince of Wales for his dedicated and loyal service to the Crown. After retiring from the British Army, he worked for the MoD UK as HR manager for the British Gurkhas Nepal with responsibility for the management of over 350 civilian staff.

Buddha CRN Staff

Buddha Bir Lama, District Programme Manager

Buddha is District Programme Manager for EBMF, Lalitpur. He holds an MA degree in Sociology and has a decade of  experience in non-profit’s project management focusing on strengthening public education in rural parts of Nepal. He is passionate about serving children, minorities and deprived groups to promote social justice. He has gained M&E experience working with the Community Health Research Program.

Dilu Tamang, Senior Member, Rescue Team

Dilu has worked with EBMF for 10 years and is involved at the frontline of all our rescues. Dilu is also one of Nepal’s few trained counsellors and has developed a speciality helping trauma and trafficked children. Dilu is passionate about rescuing children and giving them a new life.

Prem Khattri Chettri, Programme Manager

Prem joined EBMF in 2012 and has key responsibility for child protection and development. He also works with Dilu to reintegrate rescued children. Prem has a Masters Degree in Development Studies from Kathmandu University and has also worked as a school teacher at a Higher Secondary School.

Bikki B.K. Youth Development Officer

Bikki is one of the young and energetic staff members at EBMF. For the last two years he has been working as a lead person for our Youth Support Project. Prior to this he spent three years working at one of EBMF’s Care Homes. He has a Bachelors Degree in Social Science. Bikki is passionate about helping young people to gain skills and fulfil their dreams.


  • We are very pleased to let you know that this week we rescued a 13-year-old boy and brought him to safety. He had been working in a dirty and dangerous metalwork factory. National lockdowns, Covid-19

  • You may remember I wrote to you back in May explaining the desperate situation of families in Nepal who were facing starvation due to lockdown. It gives me great pleasure to let you know that with you

  • We’ve really missed seeing you in person over the past 18 months, but we know that many of you live far away so our online meetings have actually brought us closer together. We have decided to continu

  • We would like to invite supporters and friends of Child Rescue Nepal to join us by Zoom for another lunchtime briefing on Tuesday 16th June at 12.30pm. Things have moved on significantly since our las

  • Two weeks ago we shared an update from Nepal and asked for your support. You overwhelmed us with your kindness, giving over £8,000 to our appeal. Your quick and generous response meant we could act fa

  • This week came the news that we were dreading. Coronavirus infections in Nepal are starting to rise and the first two deaths have been reported. The government says it expects cases to increase rapidl

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