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Articles: Council gets together with Folkestone Nepalese community to improve understanding

Contributed by editor on Apr 30, 2017 - 09:25 AM

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This week has seen two events to improve understanding between the local council and the Nepalese community.


On 24 April representatives from the Nepalese community visited the Civic Centre to see a presentation on the work of Shepway District Council and on 28 April the Folkestone Nepalese Community (FNC) hosted a presentation at the Shorncliffe Community Centre on the history, culture and customs of the Nepalese and their 200 year friendship with Great Britain.

Richard Grundy, Jan Holben, Roger West and Chandra Gurung  Photo: Susan Carey

Hawkinge resident Nabin Siwa was the principal presenter.

 A veteran of the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles, Nabin Siwa now runs his own security company and is a parish councillor in Sandgate.

Following him was a representative of the next generation, Maha Rai who is the son of a veteran and General Secretary of FNC.

Jenny Hollingsbee making friends  Photo: Susan Carey

Cllr Jan Holben, Chairman of Shepway District Council responded to the presentations saying she had learned much and that such contacts should continue and FNC chairman Mr Chandrabahadur Gurung thanked all those who had attended.

Nabin Siwa and Susan Carey

The FNC has nearly 600 registered members, the majority of whom are settled here after service in the Gurkha Rifles. Those still of working age were mostly self employed or running their own businesses such as restaurants, taxis or security whilst their children were moving into more professional jobs such as medicine and law. Older settlers faced problems in learning English and low incomes from pensions designed to fund retirement in low cost Nepal not the UK.

Councillors Susan Carey and Jenny Hollingsbee with Chandra Gurung and other members of the Nepalese community

Among the interesting facts given at the presentation were the high number of awards for bravery won by the Gurkhas including 13 VCs. We were also told that we should remove our shoes on entering a Nepali House and not to whistle indoors as there is a superstition this invites ghosts into the house.

On Friday 28 April a Charity Dinner at the Leas Cliff Hall to raise money for rural schools in Nepal was held. As well as the traditional Nepalese Curry dinner there was entertainment from the Military Wives Choir, the Band of the S.E.Border Force, dancing by pupils from Folkestone School for Girls and music from the Regimental Piper.

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