Background and origins

Background to why the need for the creation of the UKNFS

The Nepali community is represented by a range of different organisations – community groups in many locations; national and international ones such as the Britain-Nepal Academic Council [BNAC], Centre for Nepalese Studies [CNS], Non-Residential Nepali Association [NRNA], etc. — in the UK, whilst the UK and Nepal governments official recognised diplomatic (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO]) level organisation is the Britain-Nepal Society, whose Chairperson, Mr Roger Potter MBE was kindly introduced to the UKNFS at a meeting in Kathmandu at the British Embassy in late January 2014.

Since the Ghurkha soldiers and their family and the other Nepali people who started to live permanently in the UK, the British Nepali community has entered a cultural transition phase. As a result, new needs have been emerging with the UKNFS, through its certain of its projects and its unique catalyst and lobbying role, created to play its part in covering certain of these not met to date. Whilst there were, and remain, a number of representational – for given areas of activity such as academic research, or UK Nepali community representation from local to national, there were until the advent of the UKNFS no organizations which could represent both English and Nepali communities in closely combined focused, transformational and empowering projects orientated ways. a close objectives/action focused way, until the UKNFS was created….

Nepal and the UK:

The history of the Nepal-UK special relationship dates from 1816 with the Sugauli Treaty, with the bicentenary of the treaty and preceding armistice fast approaching. Soon after the Nepali Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana and his team came to the UK by royal invitation of Queen Victoria in 1858. Then the Nepali me to UK significantly to fight for the British Empire in the first and Second World War. Then after the 1970’s the community came to the UK to seek job and study more significantly. They came to Dorset after the British Ghurkha Brigade was established in Blandford, Dorset.

Then their family members followed them to live here temporarily. But when they were allowed to live in the UK permanently, they started to live here in Bournemouth and Poole as well, and from 2000 Bournemouth University invited more Nepali students. Now the number of Nepali community members in the Dorset area that formed the location that the UKNFS originally took form in, being no less than 500, and perhaps closer to 750-1000. The estimates according to various criteria, surveys and other forms of research suggest that in 2014 the total population of Nepali UK citizens, Nepali international students and other groups such as those entitled to work and live in the UK vary from not less than 75,000 and perhaps upwards of 125,000.

Original formation of the UKNFS:

Ram Hari Adhikari developed the concept of this society in conjunction with Alan Mercel-Sanca, uniting their different background skills, shared values and vision [about an empowered UK Nepali community and a much more thriving multicultural Britain that cherishes and applies inclusive values] in the context of Bournemouth University where Ram and Alan and Ram met during the late 2011 period.  Ram at that time having just completed a Masters course, and Alan – initiator of a Chinese culture focused multicultural and Dorset area Chinese community supportive voluntary organisation, as well as being one of the three Advisors to the university’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association [CSSA] and Dorset Race Equality Council — having a number of levels of involvement with the university that had begun three years earlier.

This introduction was provided by Bournemouth University PhD graduate and current university teacher, Andrew Yearp, and soon after the nucleus of the UKNFS emerged with the addition of another UK community supporter, Seb Gray, a colleague and officer of Alan and Andrew’s at a voluntary multicultural Dorset area organisation Alan helped to initiate (Oriental Culture Educational Society).

As a result during the late 2011 to March2012 period, the UKNFS began to be formed, with Ram, Alan and Andrew, and Seb, being joined by a number of greatly respected members of the Dorset area Nepali community, and Bournemouth University Nepali PhD students: Ram Hari Bhusal , Pratik Adhikari, Jib Acharya, Rudra Poudel, Keshan Paudel, Tulsi Phuyal, with Mr Ram Hari Bhusal being chosen to be honorary chair. Soon after the group organised a very successful Nepali New year programme on the 12th of April 2012 at which Dorset and national level VIP’s from the UK and Nepali communities attended. Soon after the group developed its first constitution, and subsequently began to initiate both further Nepali culture celebratory activities, such as the Teej, and a Nepali New Year party the following year, ahead of the formation of the UKNFS in the summer of 2013 as a Companies House not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (registration number: 8626011). By that time substantial work had taken place on initiating the UKNFS key activity of projects and programmes initiation and facilitation.