Chandra Kala Thapa, Gandaki
Chandra Kala Thapa of Nepal has devoted 40 years to caring for children at SOS Children’s Village Gandaki, making her one of the longest serving mothers in the global SOS Children’s Villages organisation.
Over four decades Chandra has raised 35 children – 22 boys and 13 girls, including the nine that are currently under her care. She raised seven of these children from the time they were babies. Now, at the age of 60, Chandra still has the same “spirit and enthusiasm to care for children” as she did when she started in July 1978, says Bhagat Shrestha, Project Director, SOS Children’s Village Gandaki. She is retiring at the end of the year.
Besides her work with children. Chandra is a leader in her village, says Mr Shrestha. She serves as mentor and representative for other SOS mothers and aunts, as well as actively participates in community and social programs in the neighbourhood. “She is a Super SOS Mother of SOS Children’s Villages,” Mr Shrestha says.
All of the elder children who grew up in her SOS family have graduated from high school or have gone on to university. Many work or created businesses. Some married and have started their own families, giving Chandra 16 grandchildren.
One of Chandra’s grown sons, Raju Sapkota, is an example of a young man now standing on his own. For the past 10 years, he has run his own restaurant and lodge in Pokhara called Sanu Lake on de Water. “I was child with nothing, and now I have my own business and my own family. Today I’m living an independent life. This is a big credit to Chandra,” he says.
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