22nd July 2022

‘May you have a prosperous life’: Bir Maya thanks our supporters

As we head into the monsoon season, our team in Nepal is visiting as many rural pensioners as possible before the roads to their homes become impassable.

Gurkha widow Bir Maya Sunwar lives in a remote village that is very difficult to reach due to poor road conditions – our team from Pokhara have to travel for nearly two days to visit her. So it was essential that we delivered Bir Maya’s pension and medical check-up before the path to her village became flooded from the monsoon.

At 78 years old, Bir Maya doesn’t leave the house much and is dependent on our support. When we visit, she enjoys sharing stories about her late husband Maniraj Sunwar, who enlisted with the Gurkhas as a driver in 1962.

“I got married when I was 26 years old,” Bir Maya said. “My husband was 28 at that time. We got married in 1969. He married me after he was made redundant from the Army.

“My husband used to talk about his Army days. He used to say that he, along with many others, was made redundant and so he had to come back home to Nepal. He said that it was very difficult for people to get recruited into the British Army. He also said that he had to go to battlefield to fight. He liked to share the stories with us.

“After he came back to Nepal, he married me. We worked on the farm together and grow crops.”

After her husband passed away, Bir Maya travelled with her son to collect her GWT pension. “But now, I cannot go anymore as I am getting old and cannot walk very far,” she said.

Today, we deliver Bir Maya’s pension and medical care straight to her doorstep. Without our support, it would take her over 45 minutes to reach the nearest health post, which would be unfeasible with her mobility issues.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Bir Maya does not need to worry about working to afford food or medicine. She lives a peaceful retired life in the countryside, looking after her buffalo, three goats, and a pig.

“I can’t cut grass and feed them like I used to,” Bir Maya said. “But I give them grass which has already been cut by my son.

“I haven’t worked in the fields for a long time. I use the GWT pension to buy food and things needed in the house. The GWT has given me this pension so that I can eat.”

“I really feel happy that there is someone looking after me,” she said. “The Gurkha Welfare Trust has given me medicine, blankets, a pension, and they come and visit me often. So, I am very thankful. When I come to think of it, they are doing good. I am grateful for the love and support they have given me. If there was no pension, then my life would have been very difficult.

“I feel proud to be the wife of a Gurkha soldier. May God bless you and may you have a prosperous life.”

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