As a little girl, Doli from Nepal found it hard to resist the thrill of the circus, its breathtaking acts, daring performers and dazzling costumes.
When scouts came looking for children to join the big tops in India, she was captivated.
“The circus sounded like a magical place, so I wanted to go, too,” she recalls in a teaser for a documentary about Nepal’s first and only circus, made up of rescued victims of human trafficking.
For decades, Nepalese children have been targeted by circus scouts from India where the spectacle, which has been dying in many other countries, still draws crowds.
Often sold by their parents hoping to give them a better life or to escape poverty, many children in the most exploitative circuses are deprived of schooling, forced to learn punishing routines and beaten if they fail, activists say.
“The trainer ... if we couldn’t do it, would hit us with a twisted wire, even when I fall,” another young woman in the film said.
The feature-length documentary, which is still in production, tells the story of three Nepalese women who met as teenagers after being rescued from circuses in India, and focuses on their attempts to overcome a childhood spent in forced labor.
One of them was so young when she left Nepal that she did not know her real name.
Not only does the film chronicle their efforts to reconcile with the families that sold them, it also shows how they establish Circus Kathmandu with 10 other survivors of human trafficking and the bonds that are forged among the group.
Since 2010, the troupe has performed in Kathmandu Valley and the border towns of southern Nepal’s Terai plains, but also at Britain’s Glastonbury Festival in 2014, enthralling audiences with their acrobatics, aerial skills and storytelling.
The film’s producer, Elhum Shakerifar — who hopes to raise ￡30,000 (US$43,000) by Thursday to cover the edit and some of the post-production costs — said the title, Even When I Fall, was inspired by the circus performers’ trust in each other.
“If you’re part of a circus and you’re performing with someone, flying through the air, you need to have really strong communication skills, you need to trust that person [and] know they’re going to catch you,” Shakerifar said.
“[The troupe] have really turned around something that enslaved them and made it into a strength and a skill,” she said.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big