This section of the UKNFS website provides information about a) the organisation official patron, b) current board, C) current advisors, and d) with some information and honourable mention of Alumni, former directors and advisors (and in some cases, special, continuing advisors) who have played their part in working to create and/or develop the UKNFS in the earliest phase of UKNFS development and subsequent phases.
The official patron of the organisation is the Ambassador of Nepal to the UK and to the Republic of Ireland, and to Malta, H.E. Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi (pictured above with the President of the Republic of Ireland). You can read more about Dr Subedi at https://diplomatmagazine.com/heads-of-mission/middle-east-asia/nepal/
The UKNFS Board of Trustees / Directors:
The current Board of the UKNFS include:
- Alan Mercel-Sanca [Chief Executive Officer & Organisation Lead]
- Arjun Katuwal [Treasurer]
- Pawan Sharma
- Deepesh Man Shakya
- Dr Pramod Koyee
- Nabin Pokharel
- Naresh Khapangi
- Rajendra Kadel
- James Lamb
- Jib Acharya
- Yadav Bhandari
- Ganesh Panday [UKNFS in Nepal Coordinator]
- Ekendra Gurung
- Min Bahadur Gurung
- Dr Raymond Davies [UKNFS Strategic Advisor]
The UKNFS is an INGO [International Non-Governmental Organisation] registered as a not-for-profit company with charitable objectives with the UK Companies House, and is in the process — Summer-Autumn 2015 — of registering with the UK Charity Commission.
Please also see our Constitution Page that details our our organisation Objectives: the page also includes UKNFS .
UKNFS UK Team
Alan Mercel-Sanca: Chief Executive Officer and Organisation Lead
Alan was co-initiator and on the UK side, the lead founder-developer of the UKNFS from its very earliest stage. He is CEO for the organisation. In this capacity he leads many of the organisation’s initiatives (often these in service to others, especially organisations such as NRNA, Tamu Dhee UK, Sahara UK, Nepalese Association Wiltshire, Federation of Journalists UK, for example). Particular remits being strategic partnerships, leading campaigns for the UKNFS where the voice of the Nepali community is central, etc. Also with active interest in counteracting prejudice and indirect as well as direct discrimination, equality, multicultural learning/education and international academic and related partnerships development, arts (he is an internationally recognised artist specialising in drawing, especially famous for woodland pieces), representation/lobbying. In regard to the latter he has extensive research and analysis skills, and contributes to Parliamentary select committees formal inquiries.
A finalist in the prestigious MTM Awards (2019) for Personality of the Year, he was formerly a Trustee/Director of the Dorset area Race Equality Council, was for two years its organisation development officer, and also for 18 months Healthwatch Dorset’s Equality Officer.
He was 10 years ago founder of a Dorset-based multicultural learning society [OCES], and has been an Advisor to the Bournemouth University Chinese Students and Scholars Association [CSSA] for the past three years, playing a key role in reestablishing the CSSA at Bournemouth University from 2010. Alan is also a professional artist with an international reputation in fine art drawing, and is the initiator and Lead Officer of the UKNFS Nepal International arts Programme [NIAP]. He is an editor, proofreader, and article writer.
He is a passionate and very active advocate of inclusive values and has a ‘One World Vision’ with an established record at a national level for combating prejudice on grounds of race and other — LGB&T — forms of discrimination in: he leads within the UKNFS on equality, diversity and anti-discrimination issues.
Alan’s academic background is in history (University of Kent: BA Hons), he has a Masters level certificate in research skills (Bournemouth University) and City and Guilds in teaching. He is an English language editor, proofreader, and also writes articles with newspapers and journals such as the Kathmandu Post, and Nepali Patra. He is a person who shares predominantly Buddhist and East and South Asian philosophic perspectives upon life and as such deeply appreciates the interconnectedness of world cultures and inclusive values.
Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)7811 269 454
Deepesh Man Shakya: UKNFS Board Member:
Mr. Deepesh Man Shakya joined the UKNFS board in January 2020. Mr. Shakya is an electronics engineering specializing in FPGA in a programmable chips company in Dublin. Before joining the company in 2004, Mr. Shakya received his M.Eng. in Dublin and worked as a lecturer at the National College of Ireland. He graduated from Amrit Science College in Kathmandu as a Gold Medalist before heading abroad for his higher studies.
He has been involved with the Nepal Ireland Society since its establishment and currently serves as the President of the society. On his initiation, the relations between Nepal and Ireland has flourished to a new height at the people level, organizational level and recently at the government level with the establishment of a Parliamentary friendship group in both countries.
Deepesh has also served as Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Honorary Public Relations Representative for Ireland and organized numerous tourism promotion events in Ireland and all of Europe. He is the main architect and the Chief Coordinator of Nepal’s Europe Wide campaign – “Visit Nepal Europe 2017″ and the Chief Coordinator of the ongoing Global Campaign to promote Nepalese Cuisine – ” Experience Nepal – Cuisine and Culture.
The UKNFS greatly welcomes Deepesh ji’s joining our team, his great expertise and the areas of activity and initiative of his exceptional work detailed above, especially in regard to relevant areas of our activity where we can support. In particular the UKNFS entering 2020 is becoming reorganised on a pan Republic of Ireland and UK, pan-British Isles basis, where Deepesh role (especially in regard to post-Brexit delivery) is deeply valued and important — including in support to development of our Ireland dimension and support to Deepesh work at Nepal – Ireland Society and beyond.
Mr. Shakya has masterminded an innovative platform called TMM Nepal (www.tmmnepal.com) for sustainable promotion of Nepal’s Tourism. The platform encourages Nepalese diaspora and friends of Nepal to promote tourism with financial return.”
Pawan Sharma: UKNFS Board Member:
Mr Pawan Sharma (BA in English & Economics at Tribhuvan University) joined the UKNFS Board in January 2020. Mr Sharma is a renowned and respected restauranteur from Butwal in Nepal and based in Peterborough. He is a director at Thamel 91 Asian Food Company Ltd, Cool Drinks Ltd, and Sherpa Lounge Ltd. Pawan ji also has an Advanced diploma in Hospitality Management from University of Paramata, Sydney, Australia, and a BSC in accounting from London school of business and finance, as well as ACCA from the London School of Business and Finance. Mr Sharma’s community support work and background are extensive, including but not limited to being President of Peterborough Nepalese society -2015-2017, and an NRNA NCC member – 2017-2019. Other community accomplishments and posts include being:
An Ex trustee – PNS UK; Advisor – PNS UK – current; Advisor – Sajha Nepali Samaj – current
In regard to other non-business, non-community support activity Mr Sharma has the following interests and accomplishments: part time acting and modelling in Nepali music videos and movies , travelling and helping the people.
UKNFS remits: charity (Nepal and UK) support activity, aspects of the Nepali arts (acting/film, modelling), as well as Nepali cuisine awareness raising and promotion in the UK and the West
Nabin Pokharel: UKNFS Board Member
Nabin is a London-based Nepali journalist, and UK correspondent for Nepal’s leading media outlets– Kantipur daily and Kantipur TV; in addition, he is Editor-in-chief of www.wenepali.com a London based major Nepali news portal, and was both Founder President and current advisor of Federation of Nepalese Journalists UK (FNJUK), and a former advisor of NRNA UK.
Nabin also loves writing on Human and Social issues, and contributes in this regard substantially to UK Nepali community voice and support through journalism. Originally from Lamjung, Sundar Bazar, Nepal, he has been living in the UK since 2006, September, and is an affable and hard-working person who gives 100 percent to his work commitments. Nabin is ambitious, energetic, and a determined professional who enjoys working in a diverse and multicultural team.
Mr Pokharel’s academic qualifications include:
2015 – MA (Master of Arts) on MARKETING AND INNOVATION from University of Anglia Ruskin, UK
2013 Feb – Aug 2014 – Graduate Diploma on Tourism Management from University of West London, Ealing, London
1999-2002: Bachelor’s Degree on Mass communication from Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nabin has received and won a number of prestigious national and international awards and honours, including:
The NRNA International Journalism Award (2017)
Honours for recognition of the quality of his work have been received from (but not limited to): The Embassy of Nepal (London); Kosheli Nepali Cultural UK; NRNA UK; Tamu Samaj UK; and the Miss Nepal UK team
Nabin has over recent years provided timely and thorough courage on some of the major aspects of the UKNFS work for Nepal, Nepal – UK bilateral friendship and initiatives, and in the UK in regard to issues and matters of importance to our UK Nepali community. The UKNFS is privileged and delighted that Mr Pokharel is a member of the UKNFS Board with news media remit.
Jib Acharya: Board Member.
UKNFS officer/advisor for healthcare provision organisation management and related research and projects.
Dr Jib is one of the founder members of the UKNFS at the time of its inception by Ram Hari Adhikari and Alan Mercel-Sanca. He has successfully completed a PhD degree from Bournemouth University, England, and has interests and specialism in fundraising, development of the healthcare project, research mainly in the field of public health nutrition. His PhD research project entitled Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of mothers of young children related to healthy eating: Comparing rural and urban perspectives in Nepal. During his study at BU, he also served as a student representative (2014-15) where he experienced coordination between a group of the students and management authorities of the University.
He has also attended several national and international workshops/conferences such as the World Congress of Nutrition, Micronutrient Forum Global Conference, the Nutrition Society Conference and etc. during the PhD study. Besides this, he has published journal articles and conference papers in nutrition-related issues of Nepal. He was awarded by the Global Supplementary Grant-OSF(Europe) (for the year of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014), Sight and Life Scholarship (2011-2015), Santander Universities mobility award (2014) and) and the British Council award (2014). He has discovered a new knowledge and added to the literature. The new knowledge termed ‘diversified views’ which is one of the major barriers to recommend a health food to the preschool-aged children in Nepal. Besides this, Dr. Acharya has developed the ‘3P awareness strategy’ which is one of the most powerful tools to increase the level of awareness for the community people.
James Lamb: Board Member
After nearly 30 years as an educationalist in Scotland, James Lamb combined his love for outdoor adventure and photography to become a professional landscape photographer. James has walked and climbed extensively all over the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Nepal. In 2014 he established a trekking agency in the Nepal Himalaya with Tashi Lama, a Buddhist monk. The agency aims to increase local employment, with the profits funding a local charity, The Little Sherpa Foundation. When the first earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, James was in the Himalaya filming for The Adventure Show (aired on the BBC in September 2015). Filming continued when the camera crew and producer accompanied James back to Nepal to see first-hand how the people featured in the initial programme, were rebuilding their lives, both physically and mentally.
James in addition to playing an important part in development of aspects of UKNFS projects, especially cultural tourism, will be helping to develop the UKNFS in Scotland, including development of strategic relationships across a range of important domains.
Ganesh Panday: Board Member & UKNFS in Nepal Coordinator
Ganash Panday, Nepal’s award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, who has made history in Nepal through to date winning 15 international awards around the world, has been appointed UKNFS in Nepal Coordinator. Ganesh is also a Board Member of the UKNFS.
For more information about Ganesh please visit this article about him in Wave Magazine: https://wavemag.com.np/amp/in-global-plaudits/
Min Bahadur Gurung: Board Member
Min came from Kaski Pokhara Nepal. He joined the British army in 1986 and retired in 2003. Over Seventeen years he served in the British Army 6 Gurkha Rifles then 1st Gurkha Rifles served in Hong Kong, Brunei, Belize, Singapore, UK, Germany, Cyprus, Belgium, USA, Bosnia visited more then 25 country. He settled in Aldershot with his wife Sharada and two daughters Minsa and Saleena.
For the past 15 years he has worked as a volunteer on various charitable organizations such as British Gurkha welfare society UK, NRN UK, Tamu Dhee association UK and is currently President of Sahara UK and Director of Gnergy run by British Gurkha in Farnborough. He has actively worked with the Bristish Gurkha welfare society for Gurkha settlement Wright since 2004.
Ekendra Gurung: Board Member
Advisor at Tamu Dhee UK Association, and former headteacher with particular interest in preserving and detailing the history and culture of the Gurung peoples of Nepal and the UK.
Dr Raymond Davies BSc (Hons) PhD DIC: Board Member & organisation Strategic Advisor
Dr Davies is highly experienced in the international domain applied to evolving political market opportunities, arising nationally and globally for his clients. With a speciality in the development of such markets through the evolution of private sector led collaborations with the public sector. He is also committed to using his international strategic experience with the community to help integrate community diversity with government agencies and strategy.
Having a defence background, Dr Davies understands the bi-lateral strategic importance of the 200 years relationship between the UK and Nepal in practical community and business development between our two peoples.
UKNFS Advisors and Ambassadors:
UKNFS PR officer/Ambassador
Sarah Ali Choudhury: Sarah, is our UKNFS PR ambassador, specialising in areas of support to the organisation relating to her nationally renowned expertise in cuisine (Sarah is a nationally renowned celebrity TV chef [My Kitchen Rules: Channel 4] and award winner). She is a strong supporter of the multicultural equality and social inclusion values at the heart of the UKNFS. Read more ….
UKNFS Brand Ambassador
Rojina Pradhan Rai: Rojina has always sought new challenges and additional responsibility to progress contribution to community and in regard to her career. She possesses a positive attitude and have the ability to manage varied workloads and relish the challenge and opportunity of new tasks. She is highly experienced, reliable, hard-working and multi-skilled individual with a responsible and self-motivated attitude to work, and am fit, and well trained.
With a substantial established background in the defence community and administration, Rojina is a highly motivated individual with good interpersonal communication & team working and team leading skills. She is passionate about personal development and how this contributes to community and making a meaningful difference to the world in which we all live.
In tandem with this, developing a successful and challenging career associating myself to work in a reputed organization like the UKNFS that gives scope to update her knowledge and skill in accordance with latest trends and be a part of community that dynamically works towards the growth of the UKNFS.
Rojina states — ‘It is both a real honour and a very exciting opportunity to become a Brand Ambassador for the UK Nepal Friendship Society. To this important Society, bringing my skills and vision and values on delivery on behalf of Nepal and the Nepali community here in the UK and worldwide to the dynamic record of delivery of the UKNFS across different areas of important activity and initiative. I am looking forward to contributing to that record of delivery!
Rojina has held and holds positions of responsibility and utilised my interpersonal skills to motivate and develop the community. Always striving to go the extra mile to achieve the set goals Rojina embraces new challenges and additional responsibility to assist in the progress of community.
- President of RojiHira Foundation.
- Managing director Of RojiHira LTD Company
- Vice President of NRNA UK
- Vice President of Blind Rocks UK
- General Secretary of Kirat Rai Yayokha Tayama Khiyama UK
- Former Spokesperson of the Asian Mahila Association (AMA)
- Life member of Khotang Sewa Samaj UK
- Member of Human Rights UK
Education Masters Degree in Business Administration from Anglia Ruskin University, I studied Management at the University of West London, and also studied Management Farnborough College of Technology. In Nepal Rojina studied Business Management at St. Xavier College Maitghar, Kathmandu, and originally studied at Arunima higher secondary School.
UKNFS Advisor on Social & Environmental Topics:
Dr Michael Brown: Michael is a specialist in development communication and participatory project facilitation. He made his first trip to Nepal in 1988, and subsequently lived in Nepal for six years, working in social development. He completed his PhD in Nepal working with disadvantaged communities, using ‘participatory film-making’ and ‘theatre for change’ methodologies to support people to have a stronger voice in the discussion of issues affecting them, leading to positive social change.
Fluent in Nepali, Michael continues to work regularly in Nepal, facilitating participatory community projects and making documentary films on social and environmental issues. Following Nepal’s civil unrest, he documented the psychological impacts of conflict on people, and utilised his film to secure two-year funding from Irish Aid to enable a local Nepali NGO to develop trauma support services. This project culminated in a unique ‘Community-based Psychological Trauma and Treatment’ model bespoke for Nepal, but transferable to other communities and contexts around the world. It is being used as a main case-study by Professor Kathleen Hargan, Department of Health and Human Services at Contra Costa College in California.
Michael has also facilitated the use of participatory radio in Nepal, working with a local FM radio station who trained a children’s group, and domestically-abused women, to present their own twelve-week radio phone-in shows, where they discussed the issues affecting them and interviewed key people to raise awareness and promote positive social change. ‘Disability and Development’ is an educational resource developed by Michael and linked to the post-primary school curricula in the UK and Ireland. It consist of seven films, made around the world with children experiencing disability caused by their life situation, including two stories of spinal injury in Nepal with girls falling from terraced fields. A range of lesson plans allow pupils to understand the lives of children around the world and to gain greater awareness of humanity and a broader ‘worldview’.
Recently, Michael spent a year filming the story of Nepal’s working mules, vital to the local economy and people’s livelihoods. The ninety-minute documentary called ‘Khacchad’ begins with the mules’ birth in India, and their subsequent journey to Nepal to work in brick factories and carrying goods into the high himalayas. The film is being used in Nepal, and on the international stage, to promote better legislation and practice to protect the wellbeing of working animals. Other issues that Michael has made films on in Nepal include; Hospice Nepal – pioneering end-of-life care; how Disabled Person’s groups collaborated to ensure the Nepal Government signed and ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disability; and two films showing a day in the life of child workers. Michael’s films always have a context, be it for the empowerment of marginalised people, for advocacy towards policy change, the sharing of lessons learned that others can adopt, or for use in formal/non-formal education. Michael brings all his past experience to the UKNFS which we hope to utilise both within Nepal and internationally.
UKNFS in Nepal:
The UKNFS in Nepal is an entity currently (Autumn 2017) being established in Nepal from the parent/main UKNFS in theUK, to which it is attached. Its purposes will be to:
Support at practical level UKNFS initiatives and projects in Nepal (more details coming in October 2017)
Assist the outreach of the UK-based UKNFS, assisting with official representations on behalf of the latter in Nepal
The UKNFS in Nepal Coordinator is Ganesh Panday ji (also a UKNFS Board Member), internationally renowned news journalist and documentary film-maker.
‘Mr Panday’s values in support of fairness, human rights, and inclusion, his great experience, expertise and renown bring so much to the vision and perspectives that characterise the UKNFS as it begins to develop in Nepal in the second half of 2017. Through the post the UKNFS has in Mr Panday an exemplary ambassador for the currently developing UKNFS in Nepal, whose initiatives are informed by inclusive values, providing Nepali solutions to Nepal’s needs and which, it will be seen, develop and profile the nation and people’s great strengths and still under-realised resources. …. read more.
Background: origins of UKNFS first becoming known of in Nepal in the 2012-2013 period
In the 2012 – 2013 period an initiative was launched to establish a parallel chapter of the UKNFS in Nepal, and much valuable work was undertaken at that time through in particular the initiative of Basanta Adhikari ji, Uttam Bhlon Lama ji, Bikesh Shresta ji, Pemba Tamang ji, and others including Sajjan Lamchane ji.
However at that time — 2012/2013 — the core UK-based UKNFS (the UKNFS being a registered not-for-profit company with charitable interests under the Companies House regulatory regime) was still in a stage of development, and transitioning from a very important concept, to what it has subsequently become, a projects-focused organisation.
As such there was not the practical base for registering a UKNFS chapter in Nepal during that time, and there were some questions around aspects of the proposed name for same. Nevertheless it is certain that but for the illustrious names above, taking pioneer roles, the UKNFS itself as it has subsequently developed, would not have been so effectively established as a name introduced in Nepal.
Officers with UKNFS international projects: NIAP
Deepak Tamrakar: UKNFS Nepal International Arts Programme Communications and Education Support Officer
Mr Tamrakar has an established record for film work in Nepal. He has been the principal reviewer of the Nepal International Arts Programme, initiated by UKNFS Executive Director Alan Mercel-Sanca, and in this role is a primary ambassador for the programme’s supportive international level profiling in the areas of fashion, theatre, modelling.
Other officers/advisors [non-Board of Trustees]:
Other volunteer officers with UKNFS:
Dr Rajeeb Kumar Sah: Equality in Health and Social Care Project [EHSCP] National Coordinator for UK Nepali community engagement / Team Lead
Dr Rajeeb Kumar Sah is our equality in health and social care project Team Lead / national coordinator for UK Nepali community engagement and research. He is originally from janakpur, a terai city in Nepal. He is a trustee at “Nepal Village Foundation”, project director and editor at “South Asian Sexual Health” and PHD scholar at the Canterbury Christchurch University, UK. His PHD research focuses on exploring social and cultural issues affecting sexual health of Nepalese young people living in the UK. His aim is to understand the intergenerational differences among parents and their young children and provide impetus to improve health and wellbeing of Nepalese population.
Dr Sah is an MD in General Medicine, MSC in Public Health, has a Post Graduate Certificate in International Relations and Globalization and Diploma in HIV/AIDS. He has several years experience of working with minority ethnic groups, marginalized and disadvantaged communities in the UK. His research expertise and area of interests are medicine, public health, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, social determinants of health and health inequalities.He has worked with young people, women, children, and other vulnerable communities in the UK, Nepal, India, Georgia and Turkey. He has authored a book titled “Parental attitudes and beliefs towards Childhood Immunisation”.
Dr Bibha Simkhada: Health and Wellbeing Team Lead Officer, and Research Lead (PI) of the UKNFS UK Nepali Community Equality in Health and Social Care Project [EHSCP]
Dr Bibha Simkhada has a BA in Nursing, PhD in Public Health from UK. She joined the UKNFS in 2013 and took position as a Research Lead (PI) in Health and Wellbeing of Nepalese community living in the UK project. Dr Simkhada is responsible for overall management of this research project.
Previously, she worked as a registered nurse and a public health researcher for several organisations. She has extensive experience of working in health care environment and public health research in UK and Nepal. She has published several papers and is a reviewer in many international peer reviewed journals. Her key interest is in Improving BME Community Health, Health Inequality, Reproductive Health and Systematic Review. She has been involving in different projects and evaluation of public health program on maternity care, uterus prolapse and elderly care in Nepal. She is highly committed to improve health of Nepalese community living in UK.
Andrew Yearp: UKNFS IT/Website Advisor
Andrew is a Founder Member of the UKNFS, creator of the society’s logo, and its original website, and subsequently our lead for IT guidance with our our online presence, including IT advisor the UKNFS’ NIAP and for aspects of online marketing. continuing online. He is a teacher at Bournemouth University where he is also undertaking a PhD. His role in the UKNFS has been pivotal to the success of the initial development of the organisation, and his interest in and love for Nepal and its culture (especially film and aspects of contemporary life) very deep.
Former key figures who enabled the creation of the UKNFS in its initial stages; in some cases certain alumni continue as greatly appreciated veteran advisors to the organisation in relevant areas & activities
The UKNFS would also like to thank to some key and highly valued figures in the formative early 2012 – 2014 period:
Ram Hari Adhikari: Organisation Initiator/Co-Founder. Ram was the initiator of the UKNFSin conjunction with Alan Mercel-Sanca whom he approached to support the concept that eventually gave birth to the UKNFS
Ms Srijana Thapa (the first Treasurer of the UKNFS, and one of the lead officer in establishing the society Women’s section of that time), Dr Laxmi Ghimire (founder of the society Health and Well being section), Mrs Anita Joshi Bomjan (founder of the UKNFS Women’s section), Mr Tulsi Prasad Phuyal (the society’s original Dorset area first Community Contact/Liaison Officer), Mr Seb Gray (one of the four original supportive co-founders — after Ram and Alan — of the group that came together prior to formally establishing the UKNFS) and Ms Laxmi Tamang (one of the UKNFS’s first international relations advisers).
Ram Hari Bhusal: UKNFS Former Honorary Chairperson (from foundation of the UKNFS to 2014)
Keshan Paudel: One of the original, at time of founding, UKNFS Dorset area community outreach officers
Professor Chris Shiel: a UKNFS founder member and former director who provided invaluable support to the founding of the UKNFS and subsequently on aspects of organisation development guidance until her retiring as a board member in late 2018