A PERFORMER had an unexpected reunion with the man who rescued him from an Indian circus after a show at Salisbury International Arts Festival.

Aman Tamang, below, was performing in As A Tiger in the Jungle at Salisbury Playhouse as part of the festival last month, when Nepalese friend of the theatre Ratna Bowman was in the audience with her friends and their daughter.

Ratna and her friends managed to meet Aman after the performance and asked him about the story, which is based on the true histories of Nepalese children trafficked into Indian circuses in the early 2000s.

Aman said he had been rescued from an Indian circus himself aged nine or 10 by a man named Khem Thapa.

Ratna then told him she knew the story and Khem, and that he now lives in Salisbury and works for the Gurkha Welfare Trust based in the city.

Aman was very surprised and excited to know that the person who rescued him lived in Salisbury and was eager to meet him, so Ratna was able to reunite Khem and Aman on the phone that evening.

Khem said: “I was due to retire from the army in 1999 and decided to return to Nepal to do some social work. I had been teaching Nepali to British army officers and soldiers and had met a lieutenant colonel, Philip Holmes, who was also about to retire. I started a non-governmental organization, the Nepal Child Welfare Foundation, and worked closely with Philip who had set up another charity in the UK. We decided to help children to give them a future in Nepal.”

Initially, Khem and Philip created a home for children who had been incarcerated in prison alongside their parents.

They were aware of the problem of children being trafficked into the sex trade from Nepal and then also became aware of Nepali children being trafficked into Indian circuses.

Eventually, in 2002 and with great fanfare at an event in Delhi, the Indian circuses agreed to release the children. They released just four children – and Aman was one of those children.

He and three others returned to Nepal with Khem who, with his wife, looked after Aman as part of his Circus Children Project