12-18 December 2014 #736

Nepalis helping Nepalis

Dambar Krishna Shrestha in Himal Khabarpatrika, 7-13 December

CAN I HELP YOU? Puja Pun (right) is among 500 Nepalis who give up their Sundays assisting other Nepali migrants adjust to life in Britain.
Young Nepalis in UK have got together to assist older migrants who do not speak English with official paperwork, and to overcome culture-shock. The group, calling itself Helping You, brings together elderly Gurkha veterans whose children haven’t yet been able to join them to help with the challenges of living in Britain. Many of the couples are lonely, and crave for Nepali-speaking company which is why Helping You takes them on walks in the countryside every Sunday and organises picnics and get-togethers.

Helping You started with 11 young Nepalis seven months ago, and has now grown to 500 members all over UK. One of the founders, 21-year-old Lekhraj Limbu, says: “Many Nepalis can’t seem to rise above their ethnic or caste groups even here in UK, we are trying to transcend that and address the common problems that all Nepalis face.”

The need is growing as more and more retirees from the British Army arrive in Britain, some of them veterans of the Falklands conflict, and even the Borneo and Malaya campaigns. Many have difficulty negotiating the National Health Service bureaucracy in hospitals, and in the markets to buy everyday needs.

Helping You has as its motto ‘show by doing, not talking’, and is also trying to inculcate a sense of responsibility among Nepali youth, some of whom have got into drugs and crime by helping in fundraising drives for distributing warm clothes for Nepalis back home.

Miruna Magar, 20, is studying sociology in college but finds time on Sundays to help out. “Being part of Helping You gives me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that I don’t get elsewhere,” Magar told us.

There are a lot of young people working in organisations such as Helping You. Sumita Ale is an anthropology student and a social worker and Nilima Thapa chairman of the youth wing of the Gurkha Welfare Society. Both say that young Nepali people in the UK are doing their bit for the Nepali community there and increasingly feel a responsibility towards their motherland.

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