Historic UK Nepali communities’ delegation Parliament fact-finding visit:
The UKNFS facilitated a ground-breaking UK Nepali communities organisations fact-finding educational visit to the Houses of Parliament on 23rd November. The initiative, proposed by Mr Ekendra Gurung, Tamu Dhee UK Advisor, involved a 4 hours bespoke visit of more than 15 community leads and representatives, including from Tamu Dhee, Sahara UK, the NRNA and others.
The first part of the programme was a two-hour presentation from Mr Alasdair Mackenzie, Parliament Educational Outreach Team lead, involving questions from the group delegates, including on Gurkha rights, that has seen only part of those agreed by an earlier parliament, delivered. Other topics related to the excellent presentation provided by Mr Mackenzie, including on how to use parliamentary mechanisms to pose questions and issues important to the Nepali community and any other given British community and/or campaigning and lobbying topic.
The Q&A’s also covered some of the questions that had been requested and developed by the community through the facilitation of the UKNFS, in a submitted questions document. The latter forms the basis in conjunction with questions asked and information provided during the programme. The latter then included visits of the delegates to both Houses of Parliament (the ‘Commons’ & the ‘Lords’), and concluded with a talk to and with delegates by the Right Hon Virendra Sharma MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Nepal, that provided further valuable insights on the parliamentary system and how APPG’s like that for Nepal led by Mr Sharma exist to serve the community in both opportunities and voice on needs or revealed issues.
The educational initiative, commenced by the visit to Westminster is an ongoing one, as, as mentioned a report on findings and linked to subsequent discussion of delegates
Alan Mercel-Sanca, UKNFS organisation lead, echoing the very positive thoughts of Mr Ekendra Gurung who proposed the initiative, Mr Min Bahadur Gurung (Sahara UK Association President) and other delegates, including UKNFS PR Ambassador/Officer Mrs Sarah Ali Choudhury (TV Chef and award winner), noted that the visit was a ‘very successful one, and ground-breaking in its concept and outcomes for both the UK Nepali community and Anglo-Nepali friendship & relations ‘ This was also noted by Mr Alasdair Mackenzie, as this was the first time that at community leads and senior figures level, that any given British ethnic minority community had come together, collectively, to visit Parliament in a formal delegation to learn about how Parliament works. This with the dual purposes of boosting the participation of community members in democratic parliamentary processes from voting, to being candidates, and also at international level, the purpose of learning gained being able to be shared with the Parliament of Nepal (and vice-versa).
The Report (that will be issued in January, including community leads reflections & questions, and the valuable input of Mr Sharma on the questions posed in the pre-visit questionnaire, will be provided to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, to the Speaker of the Parliament of Nepal, the two ambassadors (Nepali and British), and potentially relevant others. In this way further strengthening the equal and mutually respectful and beneficial special friendship & relationship between the two nations & their great peoples.
One of the main outcomes of the visit was the proposal made by the delegation to Mr Mackenzie, and enthusiastically taken up by him (and to be carried forward by his successor ….) of a brief video that will be in both English and Nepali (with a translator from our Nepali community) on Parliament, its background and mechanisms & processes, including how it can serve the needs and voice of a given British ethnic minority community such as the UK Nepali one.
The visit received extensive coverage in the Nepali media – an example of which is provided here through the We Nepali news piece enabled by Mr Nabin Pokharel: http://wenepali.com/2017/11/41738.html
Advice initiative funded by Big Lottery:
The UKNFS has been awarded a Big Lottery Awards for All grant to enable a ground-breaking advice project for the UK Nepali community in terms of advice needs across a range of essential day to day topics, involving engagement with public sector, government, voluntary and advice service providing organisations. These range from local authorities, the Home Office, to councils for voluntary service and the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB); with national as well as five geographical location areas, levels involved, and looking at current service provision by these agencies and entities and community access to and satisfaction levels with same.
The project will have a solutions focus where issues are identified, giving the UK Nepali community a strong national level profile and voice through the initiative, and assisting the agencies and entities, where needed to provide more effective engagement and support through the UK Nepali community advised solutions that the UKNFS will be supporting.
A very big thank you to Big Lottery for enabling this project, for the community support benefits it will bring, and to all those that provide advice services.
UKNFS PR Ambassador
We are delighted to share that our UKNFS PR Ambassador/Advisor, TV chef Sarah Ali Choudhury has received an award for ….. Sarah is going to be working with UK Nepali community members with interests in preserving and promoting authentic/traditional Nepali cuisine & recipes on a UKNFS Nepali cultural heritage project that will be starting in January 2018.
‘Sarah has been shortlisted for two leading awards at this year’s Venus Awards including Influential Woman of the Year Award sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and Inspirational Woman sponsored by Bournemouth University.
The Venus Awards celebrate and recognise local working women-in-business. Established in Dorset in 2009, the Venus Awards now operate in ten regions across the UK.
The Finalists were announced at Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton where over 130 guests came together on Friday 8th September to celebrate women-in-business.
Sarah’s catering business serves authentic gourmet Indian cuisine for events and functions across the region. Earlier this year Sarah was awarded the title of New Kid on the Block at the Small Awards in London, and was also a finalist for The Rising Star Award at the Bournemouth Tourism Awards.’
We wish Sarah good fortune with both awards contests, which further support her work for the UKNFS on promotion of UK-wide awareness of traditional Nepali cuisine.
UKNFS Nepal Floods Appeal (August 2017):
The UKNFS is raising funds through requests to our Network and through it broader contacts regarding support to those afflicted by the terrible and devastating late August 2017 floods (please read more about the scale and costs of these in the Guardian). Our thoughts and hearts are with all those suffering at this time, and are fundraising for the following organisations that we partner with directly and formally, so any amount no matter how small or greater will be going directly to flood recovery support activities by each, that have directly requested our support:
We will also provide some donation to the community of the Gaumukhi Development Area (GDA) a remote rural region in the Western Nepal also affected, with whom we have had a long-standing relationship through our Nepal International Arts Programme (http://creativenepal.co.uk/gaumuki-development-area-niap/)
Please provide any donation to the UKNFS bank account marking it ‘Nepal Flood Appeal’ when making the transfer:
Bank account name: UK Nepal Friendship Society
Bank: HSBC (Bournemouth)
Sort Code: 40-13-07
Account Number: 82428806
Any donations will be greatly appreciated by the named beneficiaries, and we will be keeping this campaign open until December 1st 2017 and providing information on what support activities and items your donation contributes towards.
Read more about the report’s main launch (9th July), and subsequent launch at Bournemouth University (22nd July).
The UKNFS is delighted as a result of the success of our projects work, to be listed on the useful links section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office initiated Britain Nepal.org website which has been created in support of the UK – Nepal Bicentenary commemoration and celebration.
The UK Nepal Friendship Society [UKNFS] is an inclusive UK-based INGO [international non-governmental organisation], also with a chapter in Nepal, that is projects-orientated (education, health and wellbeing, Nepali cultural heritage/arts, etc.). We are a not-for-profit, Companies House registered organisation (registration number: 8626011) with charitable objectives, that offers membership to all who share our vision and values and who wish to support our programmes and projects.
We work for the interests and voice of all members of the UK’s Nepali community, and for all in the United Kingdom that honour and seek to further inclusive multicultural values in our multiracial nation.
You can read more about us and our background on our About page, and about our main activities on our Projects page.