Richard Meredith returned to our Village in the foothills of the Himalayas ten years after working with General Motors to raise money for a family house when the Village was first opened.
In 2003, Richard travelled all the way from Luton in the UK to the South Korean capital Seoul, completing the 12,000-mile journey to road test a car made by General Motors. In return for proving the reliability of the vehicle, General Motors promised to donate enough money to fund the construction of an entire family house at our new Village in Bharatpur.
An extraordinary journey
Richard and his co-driver Phil McNerney, a university graduate from Liverpool, got more than they bargained for after setting off for Seoul in June 2003. Contrary to their expectations, their road trip was far from straightforward. Not only did border restrictions throw their journey into jeopardy, they also encountered adventure in Afghanistan, where they passed through Taliban lines in the notorious Khyber Pass.
Despite their many brushes with danger in the 25 countries they traversed, Richard and Phil eventually made it to Seoul. Earlier this month, Richard returned to Bharatpur to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Village, enjoying traditional music, song and dance, followed by a delicious feast of Nepali food - as well as a chocolate birthday cake!
Finding a new home
Seven children and their SOS mother found a home in the family house paid for by Richard’s intrepid expedition and the generosity of General Motors. In the years since, SOS Children’s Village Bharatpur has expanded to provide homes for a total of 14 SOS families.
Living in the family house today is SOS mother Goma, who cares for children like Mansingh and Urmila, two siblings who lost both their parents early on in life.
Speaking about these two little children, Richard said: “In the remote area where they lived some distance from Bharatpur, their future was perilous at best. But now, thankfully, they have begun to rebuild their shattered lives with hope and confidence - and the transformation is remarkable.
“With so much of the world in apparent conflict and disharmony, it was simply the most heartwarming thing to see these children, who have so little and have already suffered so much, now finding themselves in a place where they can be happy and safe again.”
SOS Children in Bharatpur
As well as caring for children who have lost their parents, we also offer education to boys and girls from the Village and surrounding community in our SOS school. Daycare provision for local parents enables families to work towards independence, giving mothers the time to go out and earn a livelihood to support their children. A medical centre protects families against disease and malnutrition, allowing children to grow up with the safety and security they deserve.