A debt of honour to Gurkha families – one woman’s story
“Life has been hard.”
Sukla Pun tells us when we reach her home in Punthok, a remote village in Nepal’s hilly Rolpa District. Over the years, the 77-year-old widow has been dealt an incredibly difficult hand.
Life as a single mother
In 1994 her husband, World War Two veteran Rifleman Chandralal Pun, passed away. Sukla was left to raise her two children as a single mother with no source of income. Despite the challenging circumstances, Sukla was determined to do everything she could to provide for her children. She undertook arduous manual labour jobs in order to get by.
“The Gurkha Welfare Trust saw my hardship and helped.”
In 2005 a member of our team in Nepal was made aware of her situation. We were able to provide a Welfare Pension to Sukla, to help her buy life’s essentials for her and her young children.
We pay a Welfare Pension to thousands of impoverished Gurkha veterans or widows in Nepal who aren’t eligible to receive a British Army pension. The rate is calculated each year using ‘shopping basket’ of basic goods such as rice, vegetables and firewood. For many people, like Sukla, this is their only source of income.
Things were finally looking up:
“It was very difficult for us. Raising two children without the support of my husband was difficult. Fortunately, The Gurkha Welfare Trust saw my hardship and helped.”
Support during the most difficult of times
Sukla was able to enjoy ten comfortable years with her children, receiving the financial support they needed. However, tragedy was to strike again when her son sadly passed away in 2015.
Shortly after the distressing passing of her son, Sukla’s home was badly damaged following maintenance works being conducted on a nearby road.
Our team were able to provide immediate assistance by offering financial and other support. Not only did we repair her damaged walls, we also replaced the roof, ensuring she was safe to face the monsoon season ahead.
We asked Sukla about the support we provide:
“It is everything for me. Especially, after my son died. My daughter-in-law and the grandchildren also depend on it. I cannot imagine how my family would survive without it.”
As well as providing Sukla with a monthly Welfare Pension and emergency hardship support, we were also responsible for bringing clean drinking water to the 181 people living in her village. We built 18 tap stands, all located in convenient proximity to the 38 houses.
“You have helped me so much, I am very thankful. You provided me and my village with drinking water. You also helped me protect my land and change the leaking roofs of my house. I cannot thank you enough.”
Without your ongoing support this work wouldn’t be possible. We owe women like Sukla everything. Her husband risked his life for our freedom. It is our debt of honour to look after his family.