International Community

The Crystal Castle is committed to supporting a multitude of international causes to make the world a better place.

 

Ignite - Rebuild Nepal

 

Crystal Castle owner Naren King and his film-maker son Toby have now landed in Nepal to help distribute money raised at our recent Rebuild Nepal benefit concert, with Toni Childs and friends. They are travelling with Toni, filmmaker and musician Mik Lavage and photographer Renae Saxby.

Click on the picture below to view Toby's first short video report and read more below about how your generous donations are helping ...

Naren says "It's hard to describe the situation here after only a few short days. Many people are traumatised from the disaster and the shocks continue. Late last night the great mother earth shuddered, with a 4.6 aftershock, epicentre here in Kathmandu, sending people running into the streets. A potent reminder of both the aliveness of the earth, and the destruction that can result...

Since arriving here in Kathmandu we have been meeting with different people and groups on the ground doing relief and rebuilding work. There are those we are calling Guerilla Volunteers, mostly people who found themselves in the middle of the earthquake disaster and stayed on to help. They have been mobilising together with Nepalis to do whatever they can.

We have also spent a lot of time with the amazing Paulo Thiago who is the powerhouse behind Tents to Nepal, and we have seen first hand the extraordinary challenges faced in delivering and building shelters for families and communities- logistics, weather, and government, to name a few. What he has achieved here in a few short weeks is truly amazing.

Paulo has also introduced us to key Nepali groups. One is Youth Action Nepal, and their sub-group Quake Volunteers is made up of 1,000 volunteers, mostly college students, who are mobilised via social media and they go out in small, highly-organised teams all over the Kathmandu Valley as well as remote regions delivering firstly relief aid, and now rebuilding shelters and schools. Their focus is on the most disadvantaged- the elders, single mothers, disabled people, and the untouchables caste, all of whom often miss out on support. They take two teams to each location - one rebuilds while the other runs a Youth Motivation Camp, incorporating performance, art, play and psychological work to support what I would describe as the "rebuilding of the souls". Their power and passion had us all very inspired and we have made our first on-the-ground financial contribution, from YOUR support, of $2,200 which will provide enough tin to build shelters for 10 families in a village at Darechaur, Chitawan area. These young people move fast- these shelters will be built over the next few days (monsoon weather permitting).

We have met with our old Crystal Castle friend Gokul Subedi, who has run ACCESS Nepal for a number of years and worked with the child slavery and child labour situation here. He's had 25 people, mostly kids, living in his home since the first earthquake, as the ACCESS transitional home was damaged. We will be visiting the ACCESS home, now repaired, and also seeing his new mental health program, funded again by all your generosity.

We have also met Dr Aban who is part of a 700-strong volunteer medical team who, when they are not on shift, run medical camps for thousands of people. We have given them $700 which will buy all the medicines and sanitary supplies neccesary for their next camp, on Saturday. They will assess over 1,000 people.

We have met a Nepali helicopter pilot who is part of a 7,000-strong volunteer force including 3,000 porters, who are bringing relief to some of the most inaccessible areas, and we will follow up on some of their campaigns.

In the days ahead we will be travelling around and seeing first hand some of the work being done by two of the groups initially chosen for funding- Tents to Nepal and ACCESS Nepal, as well as interviewing the field director of operations for Karuna-Sechen.

It's hard being here, hearing so many appeals for support and having limited capacity to give. Seeing the massive camps of displaced people living under plastic, feeling the trauma in the people. But Nepal IS rising, Nepal IS rebuilding, and amongst the grief there IS also great hope, humanity, teamwork and community and an outpouring of love for each other, that touches my soul deeply.

We are together as a team, assessing and deciding on the most crucial and the most effective places to support. When you consider that for a whole family currently living in a horrendous situation, $220 is about to provide a monsoon-proof shelter, built by the youth of Nepal, it's easy perhaps to want to give more now, so please watch Toby's short video clip from our first night here, and feel free to follow the link... We are here now and able to use that money in a tremendous way...."

Pictured above is Arun from Youth Action Nepal and one of his team members.

Click here to make a donation.

 

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Tso Pema Kids Garden Nursery School (Kindergarten)

Near Dharmsala in Northern India, where thousands of Tibetan Buddhist refugees live, a small kindergarten has been growing with the support of money raised by visitors to the Crystal Castle. In June 2007, people started making offerings of coins to the statues on the Buddha Walk. Starting with Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, and spreading to all the statues, over $6,000 has since been raised. This has allowed for the continuing growth of the kindergarten, now with 37 children, the employment of 2 teachers, and a local woman to cook all the kids a healthy meal every day. Supporting such a place enables the Tibetan culture to continue; otherwise they must attend Indian schools (if they can afford it).
 

Rainbow in Tso Pema

 

Tso Pema kids singing and dancing Toddlers Lunch at Tso Pema

 


Letter to the Crystal Castle from Tso Pema Kindergaten, March 3rd, 2008

Dear respected sono and naren,

Here we are possible to reopen our school by yours great support and kind sympathetic after two and half months winter vacation. Also this year we have 12 more new students. And 6 students are gone out for higher school in TCV Chauntra and other school. Now we have 28 students. Also we set one more class room. So everything's are going perfect by yours great support. Weather over here is pleasant. How weather over your side? Last, but not the least heartful thanks in prayers. Tashi Deleck.

Yours Sincerely,
Tsering Dorjee, staffs and all students.

Website: www.myspace.com/panthapictures


Tso Pema, support for nuns living in caves

Also in Tso Pema, over 200 refugee Tibetan nuns live in caves. The Crystal Castle has been sponsoring 4 nuns since 1999. All food and living needs are provided. Sponsorship is only around $ 200 per year for each nun.

The nuns are:
(Ani means Buddhist Nun)

Ani Kunchok Dolma, born in 1974 in Derge, Kham, Eastern Tibet. Escaped from Tibet 1998. Buddhist Practise- Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingmapa.
Ani Tamdin Dolma, born in 1978 in Derge, Kham, Eastern Tibet. Escaped from Tibet 1998. Buddhist Practise- Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingmapa.
Ani Chemi Pelmo, born in 1980 in Kham in Eastern Tibet. Escaped from Tibet in 2001, with her mother and sister.


Ani Tsultrim, born 1950 in Kham in Eastern Tibet.

Website: www.pantha.burgundysky.com


A Young Monk in Bhutan

Nyima Rigdzin is a young Buddhist monk in Bhutan. He was born in 1991, and lives in Tamshing Monastery, Jakar. The Crystal Castle sponsors all his living costs.
 

Nyima Rigdzin in Tamshing Monastery, Bhutan
Nyima Rigdzin’s classroom
Tamshing Monastery was built by Pema Lingpa in 1501


Website: www.pantha.burgundysky.com


ACCESS Nepal

ACCESS is a youth led non-governmenat, non-profit making and community based social organisation in Nepal.

ACCESS functions as per the spirit of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Convention on Child Rights and envisions a world where every single child has an easy access to health, education and human rights without any barrier and discrimination.

The Restoring Childhood Program has been in action since 2010 principally focusing on the domestic child labour exploitation and protecting a child from abuse, neglect, violence with a major intervention of education.
Crystal Castle sponsors three children through ACCESS.

Website: www.accessnepal.org


WISE and Shakti-Milan Bags - Empowering Women in Nepal

WISE, which stands for Women in Social Entreprenurship, is a Nepalese organisation that provides skill development and career opportunities to underprivileged girls and women in Nepal, who are sent to them by ACCESS. 

"Political instability and traditional social suppression both contribute to the poor record of human rights for women in Nepal.

Many Nepalese women lack basic education and health care. They face discrimination, domestic violence, child marriage, underage work conditions and many other abuses. Hundreds of thousands of girls and women are forced to live a degrading life.

We strongly believe that only economic freedom can pave the way for sustainable freedom from poverty and suffering. In 2014, our team started the venture that empowers women to take control of their lives through economic opportunity.

We are continually oragnizing a sewing training program for the most vulnerable of Nepalese women: those suffering from human trafficking, HIV infecvtion, urban poverty, and victims of violence. After training, some start their own tailoring business while others work with us to produce bags and other items like this one.

Our business follows the principle of fair trade and fair wage. Your money goes directly to the women and will be channelized further to empower them women through skill development and capacity building. Your purchase and support has truly made a difference." 

CLICK HERE to buy a bag and help these women improve their lives.


Overseas Orphanages

Since 2000 when the Labyrinth was first created, money has been raised to help build orphanages in East Timor and Kenya. Over $ 30,000 has been donated over this time, which has made a significant impact on the efforts of non-government organizations Hope In East Timor and WYI – World Youth International. HOPE has built an orphanage in the Ermera district of East Timor, while WYI has built the Owiti Children’s Home in Kenya.
 

Owiti Children’s Home, Kenya  


Website: www.worldyouth.org.au
Blog: hopeintimor.blogspot.com


Saving the Whales - Flight of the Humpback

Byron local Dean Jeffreys has been an activist filmmaker and a passionate part of the anti-whaling lobby for many years. The Crystal Castle supports Dean in his travels and actions to events such as the recent International Whaling Commission meeting in Chile.
 


Website: www.flightofthehumpback.org


Earth Children Global – cleaning up plastic

Another Byron local, Wally Halvorsen, is passionate about cleaning up plastic rubbish in the world, and making the world a better and safer place for children. He empowers under-privileged children to create a clean green sustainable environment for their future. Starting in Penestanan, a village near Ubud in Bali, Wally has been successful in a major clean-up and educational program. The Crystal Castle has been a major founding supporter of this great project.



Website: www.earthchildrenglobal.com


Kiva - Micro lending



Crystal Castle owner Naren and his son Toby King, nine years of age, are interested in the concept of “micro-credit”, small loans made to entrepreneurs, in the third world. Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world – empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty. Each pre-screened entrepreneur is hard-working and hopes to create a sustainable livelihood. All they need is a small loan.

Kiva is an online community of micro-lenders, and it’s a user-friendly web-based system where a lender’s “portfolio” is maintained. Loans can be as little as US$ 25, and lenders group together to support. Default rates on loans are almost non-existant, and repaid loans can be withdrawn or re-lent. As at October 2008, Kiva handles over US$ 42,000.000.00 worth of loans, from over 330,000 people around the world, to tens of thousands of entrepreneurs.

Toby currently runs a portfolio of 4 loans - to a woman named Queen Gbeaya, a beauty salon owner in Nigeria, Africa, (funds to expand business), a woman named Ying Deang, a souvenir seller in Siam Reap, Cambodia (funds to buy motorbike transport), and two groups of women (13 in all) in co-operatives in Savaii, Samoa (funds to expand their business and farming activities).

Website: www.kiva.org


Greenpeace



Website: www.greenpeace.com


Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – led by Captain Paul Watson

Sea Shepherd is on permanent patrol to help protect the precious marine eco-system, whales, dolphins, turtles, and sharks. Crystal Castle is a regular contributor to Sea Shepherd, and recently supported the production of the locally-produced CD “Songs for Sea Shepherd”.

Website: www.seashepherd.org


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Also known as Doctors Without Borders, is the world's leading independent organisation for medical aid.

Website: www.msf.org