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Gurkha Memorial Fund

The Gurkha Memorial Fund was established in July 2009 as a Registered Charity no: 1137393, initially to erect a statue of a modern Gurkha and to commemorate 200 years of service with the UK Armed Forces. The bronze memorial statue in the Garden of Remembrance, Folkestone was designed by the renowned sculptor Rebecca Hawkins, and officially unveiled on 4th October 2015 by British actress and Gurkha justice campaigner Miss Joanna Lumley OBE. An annual Service is held on the first Sunday every year. The statue was nominated for an award at the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association Marsh Awards for Excellence in Public Sculpture. Following this successful project the Trustees decided to embark on Disaster Awareness & Support, Health & Wellbeing and Education assistance to communities in remote areas of Nepal with links to schools in Folkestone, and those Gurkhas and members of the Nepalese Community requiring support. During the earthquake disaster in Nepal in May 2015 we co-ordinated the appeal to help stricken communities and as an ‘Associate Member’ of UK Fire Aid International Development we provided over £250,000 of goods and help (tents, food, clothing, blankets etc raised by the local community), and medicines, ambulances and fire engines. 3 trucks transported 7 tonnes of supplies to Mechinagar Municipality Jhapa District and approx. 3 tonnes of emergency aid and medicinal supplies - this took 15 hours. £20,000 was also officially handed over to CNN Heroine Mrs Anuradha Koirala at Maiti Nepal Yard to assist orphaned or homeless children. We then embarked on providing Computer Technology Centres in remote areas of Nepal. The first was the Ambar Bhakti Centre at the Shree Kakarbhitta Higher Secondary School Jhapa (eastern part of Nepal) in the Municipality of Mechinagar, completed in July 2017 with 31 standard classroom tables and chairs, 33 laptop computers, 10 power distribution stabiliser boxes, ceiling mounted teacher projector, wall mounted screen, projector speakers, photocopy machine, filing cabinet and generator (as electricity power is inconsistent and unreliable. We also provided a skilled instructor/teacher on basic salary to provide the necessary training to the school teachers in a number of schools. The classroom is used Sunday to Friday each week. 7 lessons each day of 40 minutes, and on Thursdays nine neighbouring schools visit the Centre. The total cost was £20,000. The GMF Team in Nepal regularly monitors the project and continues to provide necessary support as and when required. Our next project inaugurated on 23rd February 2020 was the Joanna Lumley Computer Technology Centre with fully refurbished classroom for 21 computers for the students to use. The Bir Balbhadra Secondary School is a public academic institute and is the only school that had access to electricity and internet. It is located 300km north west of Kathmandu in the village of Thawang, Rolpa District, a “hill” district with a population of approximately 221,177. By Nepalese standards Rolpa is an underdeveloped area. His Excellency the Vice-President of Nepal Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun officially opened the centre with the Education Minister Hon Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Energy Minister Hon Baraman Pun and GMF Chairman Mr. Dhan Gurung. The Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal made a special commitment to ensure improved satellite links would be provided to compliment the project to ensuring regular connection speeds which are currently sporadic. We are now embarking on our next phase of computer provision at other rural schools. Much of the money raised comes from very generous donations and from our annual Charity Fundraising Dinner - the next dinner is on Friday May 8th 2020. To make a donation via BACS use reference GMFC3 to: Account Name: Gurkha Memorial Fund, Sort code: 52-41-42, Account number: 47201290 or send cheque made out to “Gurkha Memorial Fund” to John Barber, GMF Trustee, 34, Julian Road, Folkestone, Kent. CT19 5HW – email contact: barberjd49@gmail.com It would help if you could also email at john@folkestonefestivals.org with your contact details so that we may thank you and to claim Gift Aid on your donation if you are able to, which would provide a further 25%.

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Last updated: 16/03/2020

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