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Circus Kathmandu

A Collection of Sculptures and Drawings Celebrating Strength, Balance, and Freedom

- The three elements that are the building blocks of life - but which trafficked children are denied.

Created to raise funds and awareness for trafficking awareness initiatives in Nepal.

Please read below and download the brochure about why I am undertaking this project, below:

Circus kathmandu brochure small
Download PDF • 2.31MB


Worldwide, more than 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery.


An estimated 12,000 - 15,000 girls aged between 6 and 16 are trafficked from Nepal to India every year. The majority of them end up in brothels.

Throughout Nepal, children are and have historically been at risk from people that masquerade as interested and helpful adults. However they are in fact traffickers attempting to ensnare children into a life of prostitution and abuse for financial gain…

Nepal’s devastating earthquake in 2015 has served as an ally to the traffickers and helped to orphan and displace a large number of children.

Rural villages are most at risk, often very poor and unable to feed their many children. They believe they are sending their children off to a better life…. Often they never see them again.

Nepalese girls are prized in India as their fairer skin is deemed attractive because of a long held myth among some Indian men that sex with Nepalese virgins will cure HIV/AIDS.

Backflip - Bronze Verdigris Bronze edition 5/9

Why am I doing this?

Across the world, at every minute, even now, dark, awful things are happening to “normal people” like you and me. Except we are not the same. We have by chance been born into the lucky 1 percent of humanity that lives in a safe place, with comparatively enormous wealth, never having to wonder how we will feed our children or not having to make a choice between keeping them safe or feeding them.

The disparity of the world we live in is staggering. Personally, I find it hard to comprehend how we, with our relatively safe and ordered lives can live in the same world as people who have been born into areas where unimaginable horrors are a day to day reality.

In 2008 I headed to Nepal to set up a sculpture workshop for a charity set up by Philip Holmes - The Esther Benjamins Trust (Now Child Rescue Nepal). The charity rescued and gave shelter to survivors of child trafficking. The idea was to provide therapy through the art of making for teenagers who had missed out on a formal education having spent the majority of their lives in the predominantly abusive Indian circus industry. It was perhaps the most inspiring and humbling four months of my life.

Teaching a sculpture workshop in Kathmandu 2008

Most of them were teenage girls, whose parents had sold them aged 5 or 6 to traffickers. These traffickers duped parents into handing them over, believing they were giving them the opportunity of a better life… Sometimes for as little as $50. This is enough to buy the family a new goat, but much of the time the girls were handed over for nothing at all. The horrors that the girls were subjected to in these circuses is unimaginable and they lived a life of fear and humiliation. Tragically the girls I worked with were luckier than many. The Esther Benjamins Trust rescued them and re-united them with their families. Thousands are lost to Indian brothels and a lifetime of entrapment.

In 2010, two circus performers, Sky Neal and Robyn Sympson visited the Esther Benjamins Trust and used circus performance in the same way I had used sculpture. Far from bringing back the trauma of what they had endured, the girls actually thrived on being able to show off the skills that they had learned during their time in the circus. Thus Nepal’s first circus was formed.

Using storytelling through their circus skills, Circus Kathmandu now holds workshops throughout Nepal, telling their own story to warn parents and children of the perils of trafficking. This is a powerful tool in the fight against those who would spirit more children away to a life of certain hell.

What am I doing?

In 2018, 10 years after I had left, I went back to Nepal to shadow Circus Kathmandu. Their talent and enthusiasm is inspiring but in recent years, financial support for the troupe has faltered.

I am creating a collection of separate sculptures, each inspired by their work. They celebrate strength, balance and freedom… three key elements I believe are needed as human beings to thrive.

The figures are all arranged balancing on children’s building blocks. The building blocks evoke a childhood lost when a child is trafficked.

Each beautiful sculpture is part of a limited run of nine individually cast editions. There will also be life sized editions for feature garden sculptures.

How will it help?

Through the sale of each sculpture, 50% of the profit is going to support Circus Kathmandu’s work. This money will fund trafficking awareness expeditions and workshops for children in Kathmandu and rural hard to reach villages.

A six day trafficking awareness programme to remote villages costs approximately £1350 for the charity to lay on. This includes the troupe’s transport, food, accommodation and wages. I am aiming to sponsor six of these trips a year, and am looking for philanthropic partners who might be interested in sponsoring a living wage which is £86 per performer per month.

clay sculpture for figurative bronze of Circus Kathmandu
Metamorphosis - Bronze, Edition 2/9 £3850.

YOU can be part of the change.

Has this initiative captured your imagination and do you want to support the performers of Circus Kathmandu?

You can mark your support by investing in these pieces and giving the children of Nepal a way to avoid this dreadful fate.

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

– Warren Buffet

Spread the word to those that you know who might be interested in supporting a life changing cause, while gaining a beautiful piece of sculpture which endorses freedom as a basic human right.

Just drop me a line to find out more. Thank you.

Follow me on Instagram @rebeccahawkinssculpture

The internet is full of the truths about what happens to trafficked children from Nepal, if you are interested, please do expand your understanding

To support a charity that undertakes rescues and supports survivors please go to:

To find out more please check out Circus Kathmandu at

Google Circus Kathmandu and you will find

a plethora of newspaper articles including their performance at Glastonbury in 2014.

And watch this beautiful inspiring film by Sky Neal and Kat McLarnon

about Circus Kathmandu and their story here:

Artwork inspired by Circus Kathmandu available to purchase


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