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About Pink Lotus

If you’ve made it to this page then you’re probably looking to find out some background as to who we at Pink Lotus are. Pink Lotus was founded back in 2003 by myself, Gary Collier, and my wife Sharon Collier, who has been my partner since way back in 1981. We also have an adopted  daughter named Manju who is Nepali by birth and has been with us since 2011. Pink Lotus was established on the back of my travels to Nepal and Tibet and to the people I befriended who were predominantly Thangka artists. I was driven to help the Thangka artists to sell their artwork and Pink Lotus Thangka was born. Some of these people were also involved in the early days of a Charity called DCWC (Development of Children and Women Centre) Nepal. From 2002 I pledged to help raise funds for the charity and by 2004 had registered the Charity here in the UK. The Charity works by the name “Love Nepal” here in the UK and has gone on to build 15 schools and a Hospital along with many other very worthwhile projects.

Sharon and myself had an interest in Buddhism throughout our adult life primarily with Zen Buddhism in the earlier days. After travelling in Nepal and Tibet this extended then to Tibetan Buddhism with a particular interest in Thangka art. At this time in our lives we made the decision to resign from our comfortable office jobs and sell not just our home but most of our belongings keeping only those that we took away with us to Europe in our adapted old Mercedes Camper van. After 6 months on the road we made the decision to return to the UK to try and help our Thangka artist friends to sell their paintings. This period was just post 9/11, which was followed by a severe drop in the amount of American tourists visiting Nepal. The Thangka painters had relied heavily on trade with American visitors and their absence had a major impact on the Thangka trade. That was what drove us sell Thangkas and to try to keep these talented artists painting. With the establishment of Pink Lotus as an online shop we added a selection of Dharma Practitioner goods, which has steadily grown over the years that followed. In 2005 a retail outlet was added to compliment the online shop in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire where Pink Lotus Thangka and the Charity Love Nepal (UK) is based.

In 2005 we established Pink Lotus workshop in Kathmandu, making a multitude of Dharma products with a particular leaning to fabric products and Prayer Mala . We wanted to ensure that all the products were made from good quality materials and that we employed staff that was predominantly women, with a view to teaching them skills to earn a living. We established Meditation classes at Pink Lotus, which were taught by the Marvellous Ondy Willson, partner of Andy Weber, the world-renowned Thangka artist and teacher. Andy became a great friend and was one of our charity patrons (along with Sean Wilson, Coronation Streets Martin Platt, and the late Joe Longthorne MBE, Singer and entertainer). Unfortunately we couldn’t sustain the meditation classes here due to accommodation issues and Ondys commitments to her teachings worldwide. From 2005 we started regularly taking charity treks to Everest Base Camp, which enabled us to build our first school in 2006. From that time on the school builds came thick and fast. In 2007 we held a football tournament and health camp at the border of Kavre and Ramechaap. We took a football team from the UK, which included 1987 FA cup winning captain Brian Kilcline. Over 2000 people were treated and it became apparent a Medical facility / Hospital was needed.

By 2009 we started to build the Hospital in the Kavre region of Nepal. Whilst there inspecting the start of the build I learned of the plight of a young 7 year old girl there named Manju who had been abandoned by her parents, was eating little food and was sleeping outside. I had come across her on a previous visit in 2007 but wasn’t aware of the situation. We made a decision to try to give this beautiful little girl a future. We moved her to Kathmandu with friends and started the arduous and testing procedure of trying to adopt. She arrived in the UK in January of 2011 and the adoption was finally completed in 2013. Since arriving in the UK she has thrived and has now turned into the most delightful young lady. The Hospital was opened in 2010 and continues to develop and grow to this day. Back in 2008 whilst taking the charity treks a Nepali friend and guide lost his job with his company. We decided to start a trekking company to give him work and founded Sacred Himalaya Treks and Tours was born.

I still travel regularly around three or four times a year to Nepal, which includes trips to Bhutan, Tibet and India whenever we have groups. The charity is as busy as ever which means it needs constantly managing and at least two of my visits each year involve sourcing products for Pink Lotus. Everything we sell at Pink Lotus is sourced by myself and is examined and tried at source. We also try to help with other charities wherever possible and have a particular affection for KAT (Kathmandu Animal Treatment) Centre established by our great friend, the late Jan Salter who worked tirelessly to make better the lives of dogs and cats in the Kathmandu Valley.

Pink Lotus is our livelihood but more importantly we care dearly about the people and the environment we work in. The Nepali people are the kindest, selfless, caring people and we do all we can to give back to the people and country we work out of. In the UK we care very much that whether it be through Pink Lotus or Love Nepal we treat everyone with respect and with Kindness and do our utmost to be fair and give a good service.

We believe that Buddhism is a working practice, and try to apply all we do with mindfulness, selflessness, humility and compassion. If you’re ever in the area please feel free to visit. You will always be made to feel very welcome.

Kindest Regards

Gary (Collier)

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