Language is no barrier for borough's Nepali communityBy Hugh Fort
July 18, 2012
The Nepali community in Sandhurst has been praised for its efforts to learn English.
Representatives from NHS Berkshire and Bracknell Forest Council joined more than 100 Nepali men and women as they were commended by the Ambassador of Nepal on Saturday, June 30.
Also at the event, held at Owlsmoor Community Centre in Yeovil Road, was Campbell Christie, principal of Bracknell & Wokingham College, Councillor Michael Brossard, deputy mayor of Sandhurst Town, and Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee.
The Nepali community had been taking part in a project called Swastha Prabhesh, which focused on supporting women and elderly men from the Nepali community to learn English and improve their access to health facilities.
NHS Berkshire was the first primary care trust in the country to receive funding from the European Integration Fund for the project.
Nepali woman Himshikha Sujapati said: “The interest from the community in learning the language has been tremendous. Many women were homesick, lonely and wary of going out because they didn’t know English.
“Now they are much more confident and have made friends through the courses they attended.
“Our team was delighted to hear their stories and how it made a difference to their lives. Language barrier can be a clinical risk. A member of the community translated breast cancer screening advice in Nepalese and this is now being used nationally.”
Among the guests was Cllr Paul Bettison, leader of Bracknell Forest Council, who said he was “immensely impressed” by the commitment to learning English, particularly as some of the women are in their 70s.
His Excellency Dr Chalise said: “I would like to thank the NHS and Bracknell Forest Council for their initiative in funding and running the project. I commend each and every learner for successfully attempting to learn English.
“Nepal shares an outstanding relationship with the UK and learning and accepting each other’s culture, values and way of life will ensure that the relationship continues to deepen.”
Sandhurst has a large Nepali community as many of the families there have or have had relatives living at the town’s Royal Military Academy.