Jo meets the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire

Gyan, tell us about the aims of the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire (NAW) in Swindon?

We have a vision to transform the Nepalese community in and around Swindon, to deepen and widen social and cultural cohesion and integration with the local community. And through that our mission is to inspire and empower Nepalese people in and around Swindon to realise their full potential based on the principals of fairness and equality.

Our Nepalese community have a true intergenerational connection with each other, the older generation share their history and keep our culture alive for the younger generation, while the younger generation support their elders with digital/technology; showing how we can all learn from one another no matter our age. We also want to share our culture with the local community. Last year we held the first Nepalese Culture Day. We had lots of people come along to try Nepalese food and watch traditional Nepalese music and dance. It was so successful that we’re holding another one this year on Saturday 3 September at Great Western Park on Faringdon Road, Swindon.

How did the pandemic affect NAW?

As a community we were able to support each other during the pandemic. Helping those members of our community who speak less English to understand the rules and restrictions in place and how to keep themselves and others safe. We also pulled together to help others outside of the Nepalese community. We supported some of the refugees that arrived during the pandemic by providing meals, clothing and time to chat, and took time to go out and provide warm meals to the homeless during this time.  

In 2020 NAW was recognised at the MTM Awards. Run by Mast the Magazine (MTM), the South West’s first independent Asian and ethnic publication, the awards celebrate business and culture across the UK’s rich and diverse ethnic communities. We received the British Community Award for our contribution to the community during the pandemic. As well as supporting the homeless and refugees, some of the activities we undertook were organising a community litter pick, delivering lunch bags to the NHS and police during the pandemic and donating £10k to the NHS. 

Whilst we were chatting today it became clear that Gyan is equally as passionate about supporting his Nepalese culture and community as well as looking at the wider community needs, he is a fantastic ambassador for NAW’s vision. I look forward to getting to know this group well over the next few months– Jo