SSAFA supports Gurkha families escaping pandemic in Nepal

15 September 2021

SSAFA stepped in to provide all possible help to Gurkha Nepali families who have been temporarily re-located to the UK at the height of the pandemic in Nepal.

When the families of Gurkha soldiers were flown over to the UK for their safety while the situation in Nepal worsened, after the necessary quarantine, the Army found them temporary accommodation in Larkhill Camp, Wiltshire.

SSAFA moved swiftly to help make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable, especially for the children. The charity has helped organise and fund a wide range of activities and sightseeing over the summer holiday period, ensuring they have got the best out of their unexpected stay.

While nearly 50 families have now managed to reunite with their loved ones, as the situation in Nepal eases, some twelve families are still at Larkhill until their return home can be arranged.

As well as funding competition prizes and a trip to Longleat Safari Park, SSAFA has also funded equipment for the welfare kitchen, while the Army Welfare Service has also provided support.

To keep the youngsters amused, a comprehensive children’s entertainment programme has included in family zoom quizzes, painting and diary-keeping competitions, as well as sightseeing trips.

The diary competition was judged on how well the children had described their journey from Nepal to UK and their stay in their quarantine, reflecting their vivid memories of an exciting adventure.

For the mums and dads, activities have included badminton, yoga and a coffee morning.

Corporal Bimal Rai, Assistant Colour Quartermaster Sergeant at HQ British Gurkhas Nepal, who oversaw the Larkhill programme, said:

“I’d like to say a big thank you to SSAFA for providing so much support to our families who unexpectedly had to stay in Larkhill, and for funding the competition and prizes.

“Your kindness and generosity have made a huge difference to their stay and have greatly contributed to their morale at a very stressful time.

“We expect to repatriate the remaining families back to Nepal in mid-September.”

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