The Founding of Maddhat Shamua – Nepalese Help
Maddhat Shamuha, Nepalese Help, was founded in April 2008. The story began when Co- founder Amanda Lee wanted to initiate a ‘drop in’ service for the growing local Nepalese Community settling in the North of Hampshire. She sought support from the local CAB and sourced a reasonably priced interpreter from Lingland, Kamal Purja, who was soon become the other Co-founder. It was in fact supposed to be a different interpreter at this initial meeting, but it was from this moment that the beginning of a now hugely successful group was coming to being . Inspired by Kamal’s passion for his community and forward thinking attitude, Amanda worked hard on advertising, securing a venue, support and funding, and together they began recruiting volunteers and encouraging community members to drop in and chat about issues they faced, where appropriate referring clients directly over to CAB; it soon became clear there were numerous issues for people and the language barrier was an initial stumbling block to moving forwards.
The ‘drop in’ service came to an end when funding ran out and in it’s 14 or so month operation saw over 600 visits. On reflection it gave Amanda valuable insight to see situations through clients’ eyes, people benefitted from (and actively sought) direct support and advice, enjoying a face to face and trustful environment. It became clear a different tactic was needed as funding had finished and people were still queuing out of the door to access our service. So the common denominators were built on: common issues people faced accompanied by a language barrier.
After discussion with some regular attendees to the service, it was decided to form a group, and so Maddhat Shamuha was formed (a name chosen by the community)- to support people in a more cost effective way, it would invite speakers and provide volunteer interpreters to give people advice and information to help them understand the very different systems in the UK. After the initial meeting of 6 people in April 2008, the group membership has now grown to 587, with 6+ dedicated representatives and regular, well attended meetings that are open to all.
This group began with funding from Hampshire County Council of £4,500 and has grown from strength to strength. The next step was for Maddhat Shamuha to become a registered Charity to secure its future, which it has now done, and future aims are for this to be a self supporting group. Credit must be given to the handful of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure the groups continued success.
Amanda Lee said: “I am very proud to have been part of the development process of this group, it is amazing to see how far an idea has come along and grown, from the ideals and dreams at the very beginning, it has far exceeded my initial vision and expectation. There have been hurdles, communication difficulties & struggles and the usual ups and downs associated with building an organisation. However the dedication and perseverance of those involved has been its testimony. I hope the group continues to develop, remembering that the word ’help’ is at its very core“.
Mr Kamal Bahadur Purja
Co-founder of Maddhat Shamuha
Click here to read Kamal’s story
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