A pension for the bravest of the brave
With temperamental weather, gruelling terrain and limited access to clean water, it’s not surprising that life can be hard in some of the mountain villages of Nepal.
Ganga Devi Pun was married to Rifleman Ser Bahadur Pun who served with the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles in the mid-sixties before returning to his home country of Nepal. He sadly passed away in 1995 and Ganga has not remarried. When we visited her recently she proudly displayed his original dog tags – given to him when he joined the Gurkhas.
Struggling to provide
She now lives with her youngest daughter in a village called Dowa, located in Annapurna Gaunpalika. Her village is just a few miles from the popular trekking destinations of Ghandruk and Tatopani, famed for their views of the Annapurna mountain range.
Ganga’s village doesn’t benefit from the same tourist traffic however and so residents have to find other ways to make a living and support their families. For Ganga, who had eight children, that meant making shawls, she explains:
“I used to make traditional shawls. It would take about 9 days to make a shawl. Which means I used to make three shawls a month and would sell it for 3,000 Rupees per shawl (approx. £20). Those type of traditional shawls had a very high demand in the market. But now I can’t do it because I am getting old and I can’t see properly.”
With her eyesight in decline, Ganga struggles to make ends meet. On top of that, her husband sadly left behind debts which she pays back monthly.
“When I am free I sometimes work in the field but I can’t work like before. My joints hurt.”
Paying Ganga the pension she deserves
In 2005 she began to receive a Welfare Pension from The Gurkha Welfare Trust. By her own admission, it changed her life. We pay the monthly Pension to veterans, or their dependents, who are not eligible for the standard British Army pension (those who did not serve the necessary 15 years). It currently stands at 11,000 Nepalese Rupees per month (around £75).
We’re currently working with Ganga to ensure she receives the medical care she needs as well as exploring the possibility of building a new home for her.
You can help ensure that she can live with dignity in Nepal by supporting our work.