Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mira Rai receives £5000 as an Appreciation for her Achievement in Long Distance Running

The World Number 2 in Ultra Skyrunner World Series Championship, Miss Mira Rai from Nepal, was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and a thaili containing £5000 in recognition for her Outstanding Achievements in the field of long distance running today.
Mira Rai
World Number 2 Ultra Skyrunner

Kirat Rai Yayokkha UK together with Sagarmatha Taikwondo Dojang, Nepalese Youth Organisation, Zen Martial Arts Academy and Bhojpur Welfare Society organized this event, which took place at Harvey Grammar School at Folkestone in UK.

Background
"Mira’s feats are unusual because she was brought up in a small and impoverished village in Bhojpur in Nepal with no facilities or training for what she has achieved unlike other world-class marathoners", said Master Rastra Rai, who is the Vice President of Sagarmatha Taekondo Dojang.
Born to Mr Sukha Bahadur Rai and Mrs Pampha Rani Rai from Bhojpur, Mira is the eldest of five children and her childhood wasn’t, as we would imagine the World Number 2 in Ultra Skyrunner World Series Championship to have had. “I helped my mother with the household chores and took care of my younger siblings” said Mira when asked about her childhood. She left school at the tender age of 12 and sold rice to support her family. “I used to carry up to 28 kilograms of rice and sell it everyday”, says Mira. “I worked from seven in the morning to four in the evening”. 
However, being the optimist that she is, she recollects those days not as her days of hardships, but as being the days of her training for the long distances she loves to run today.
Political Turmoil
In the early 2000s, Nepal saw a huge shift in the political dynamics of the country, which lead to the end of monarchy in 2006. When this happened, life fell apart and living became difficult for many, especially in the villages where young boys and girls joined the rebel fighters to make ends meet. Mira was one among them. "I saw this as an opportunity to earn a living and left home to join the Maoist party", recollects Mira. She lived in the jungles for two years, where she was trained to use the weapons of war; quite fortunately she also received some defensive trainings like karate, taekwondo and running.
Mira returned home after those two years with a aspiration to evolve in karate and taekwondo and her next move was thus to Kathmandu to strive for her dreams. But destiny had other plans for her!
With not much cash in hand to further her dreams to become a professional karate and taekwondo player, she met a few personnel from the Nepal Army while running aimlessly on the roads of Shivapuri National Park one day. After running together for sometime, the gentlemen, who happened to be her blessings in disguise, asked her to come to the entrance of the Park in the next couple of days.
She went there and ran without the knowledge that she was competing in the 50km marathon race, where she came first. She ran without food and water for seven long hours and it was the very same day when heaven had decided to open. The race, which she thought was a training session, molded her career; a career that has taken her to many parts of the world like Honk Kong, Italy, France, Spain and Australia among other.
The film - Mira Rai
Mira appears to be innocent and bubbly and wear a smile on her face at all times. She has been described as “a person with great physical ability and mental strength” by Ultra Runner and Author, Lizzi Hawker, in the film Mira Rai.
She gives out a message that opportunities are to be taken and not missed, as there is but one life, which needs to be nourished.
"Our achievement are nothing compared to what Mira has achieved in a very short span of time", said the programme host Sarala Thapa. "She's an inspiration and our Global Hero." Her life, which entails her dedication and her achievements, has become a message in itself to not just the women but also men who have the passion and drive to reach their goals.
The film, Mira Rai, showcases the various transitions in Mira's life - it unfurls her story from the time when she was a young village girl who later joined the rebel fighters out of desperation to how destiny and unmatched opportunities led her to become the World Number 2 in Ultra Skyrunner World Series Championship.
Mira has won many accolades at International Ultra Marathon competitions for Nepal and holds several World Records. She clocked on her latest world record of 12 hours 32 minutes and 12 seconds in the Mont-Blanc 80km race on 26 June 2015 in France.
Mira came second in the Three Peaks Race which took place in Yorkshire in the UK on Saturday, 30 April 2016. She will be participating in the upcoming Salomon Run in Spain next week.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

1 RGR beat QGE to bag the 63rd Nepal Cup Football Championship during the historic G200

1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) bagged the 63rd Nepal Cup Football Championship at Queen’s Avenue in Aldershot today.

The winners of the 63rd Nepal Cup Championship (1 RGR) 
They scored 4 against the former champions, Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE), who put up a good fight but managed to score only 1. While 1 RGR’s WO2 Bishnu Thapa was the Man of the Match, LCpl Brindan Sherchan from Queen’s Gurkha Signals (QGS) walked home the Top Scorer Award.

The Nepal Cup and the G200 Brigade Bhela

The Nepal Cup is the Brigade of Gurkhas’ biggest sporting event and has always been attractive to the Gurkhas in various units within the Brigade.

‘The event this year is special as it marks the 200 years of Gurkhas’ service to the crown’, said the chairman of the event, Colonel James Robinson in his speech. ‘It’s amazing to see the past and the present Gurkhas come together to celebrate the historical extravaganza’.

Colonel James Robinson give away
the prestigious Award to 1 RGR
More than 5000 retired and serving Gurkhas and their families from different parts of England came together not just to watch the tournament but also to enjoy the Bhela. It was a great day out for some, especially the ex-Gurkhas, who took the opportunity to meet their peers. The veterans were proudly meeting and greeting each other flashing the badges they were given during the fiesta.

‘In our days, if you played well, then the chance of climbing up the promotion ladder increased by ten folds’, said ex-Gurkha, WO2 Tek Kumar Rai, who was among the spectators. ‘It used to be a huge thing during our time and I am glad the legacy continues.’

‘I don’t know the rules but I enjoy watching football’, said a wife of an ex-Gurkha. ‘I’ve come along with my friends and we are having picnic today’. There were smiles in their innocent faces and I enjoyed listening to them talk to each other while I watched the performance.

The prizes on display

Meanwhile, the football fanatics had had to plan a day off for the final. “I love football and I’d booked a holiday for today just to come to watch the final. Nepal Cup Football Tournament is a huge event and this year is special, as it marks 200 years of Gurkha ties with the British crown. It’s a great day out and the weather’s been great too. To put it together, I’m having a great time in this historical event,” said 34-year-old Anup Rai from Feltham.

Carrousel for the kids

While the grown ups enjoyed the final and the get together, the kids had their share of fun too. The little fun fair with carrousels, giant wheel and the bouncy castle kept the kids busy and ecstatic. Of course this did mean the some parents could only have a sneaky peak of the game.

Foods of the likes of momo, sel roti and aludhum among other varieties were available in different stalls in the event.

The Nepal Cup history

Gurkha Regiments in the Indian Army competed for the Gurkha Brigade Cup before the Indian independence in 1947. It was presented by His Highness Maharaja Mohan Shamsher Jangabahadur Rana, who at the time was the Prime Minister of Nepal and Colonel in Chief of the Gurkha Brigade.

In 1948, following the formation of the Brigade of Gurkhas in the British Army, His Highness presented the Nepal Cup as an annual inter-unit football competition.

1/6GR and 2/7GR were the first finalists in 1949 in Malaya. The tournament could not be held in 1971 and between 1995 to 1998 when the Brigade was moving to Hong Kong and the UK respectively.

From 1999 to 2005, the Nepal Cup tournament was held as a six-a-side competition on a single day and it formed part of the Brigade of Gurkhas’ Conference.

Since 2006, the Nepal Cup has returned to its traditional 11-a-side inter unit format involving teams from 1 RGR, 2 RGR, QGE, QGS, Queen’s own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR), the independent Gurkha Companies and the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Nine teams took part in the Nepal Cup Championship this year – 1 RGR, 2 RGR, QGE, QGS, QOGLR, Gurkha Company Sittang (GCS), Gurkha Wing Mandalay (GWM) and Gurkha Company ITC Catterick (GCITC).
  
Yesteryears – Nepal Cup Winners since 1949

1949 – 1st Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles
1950 – 1st Battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles
1951 – 2nd Battalion 7th KEO Rifles
1952 – 1st Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles
1953 – 1st Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles
1954 – 1st Battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles
1955 – 1st Battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles
1956 – Depot Brigade of Gurkhas
1957 – 1st Battalion Second KEO Gurkha Rifles
1958 – Gurkha Signals
1959 – Gurkha Signals
1960 – 1st Battalion Second KEO Gurkha Rifles
1961 – Gurkha Signals
1962 – 2nd Battalion 7th DEO Gurkha Rifles
1963 – 1st Battalion Second KEO Gurkha Rifles
1964 – 1st Battalion 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles
1965 – 2nd Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1966 – Gurkha Signals
1967 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1968 – 1st Battalion 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles
1969 – 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles
1970 – Gurkha Signals
1971 – Championship not held
1972 – 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles
1973 – 6th QEO Gurkha Rifles
1974 – The Gurkha Engineers
1975 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1976 – The Gurkha Engineers
1977 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1978 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1979 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1980 – QGE
1981 – QGS
1982 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1983 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1984 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1985 – QGE
1986 – QGE
1987 – 1st Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles
1988 – 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles
1989 – QGE
1990 – 7th DEO Gurkha Rifles
1991 – QGE
1992 – QGE
1993 – QGE
1994 – 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles
1995 – 1998 – Championship not held
1999 – B Coy 1 RGR
2000 – HQ Coy 1 RGR
2001 – 250 GSS QGS
2002 – C Coy 1 RGR
2003 – B Coy 1 RGR
2004 – Gurkha Coy (Sittang)
2005 – Gurkha Coy (Sittang)
2006 – 1 RGR
2007 – QOGLR
2008 – 1 RGR
2009 – QGE
2010 – QGE
2011 – 1 RGR
2012 – QGS
2013 – 2 RGR
2014 – QGE


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Monday, June 22, 2015

Colonel James Robinson talks about Gurkha 200 in a nutshell

200 Gurkha soldiers marched from Wellington Barracks, past Buckingham Palace and down the Mall and culminated at the Gurkha Memorial Statue to commemorate their fallen comrades on 20 April. This was the beginning of a series of events to take place in the UK to mark 200 years of their service to the British crown.  They also carried out Public Duties at Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and the Tower of London from the 4th to the 29th of May. 

Image courtesy Dhanraj Rai
The next round of the Gurkha 200 celebrations will take place on the 11th of July in Aldershot. ‘We’ll have a Gurkha 200 (G200) Mela, followed by the Nepal Cup in Aldershot. There will be lots of food and entertainment’, said the Colonel of the Brigade of Gurkhas, Colonel James Robinson.

I talked to the Colonel to find out more about the events. ‘As a Chairman of G200, I wanted to give it an international feel and have events taking place in different parts of the world, remembering where we’ve served like Nepal, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaya, Australia, Malaysia and America among others.’ 

How long have you been working in close ties with the Gurkhas? All my life… My father was in the 7th Gurkhas and while both my sister and I were born in British Military Hospital (BMH) Dharan in Nepal, my brother was born in BMH Hong Kong. I commissioned in the 7th Gurkha Rifles in 1984 and have been in the Royal Gurkha Rifles since 1994. My brother was also in the 7th Gurkha Rifles and has recently finished as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, 1RGR. So the Gurkhas are in my blood and I’ve been with them all my life.

How do you feel working in the capacity of Colonel BG at the time the Brigade of Gurkhas has reached this milestone of G200? Having been in the Gurkhas all my life, I’m extremely proud to be in the top of the Gurkha ladder and so is my father. I’m enjoying looking after the whole of the Brigade and the different units in terms of the development and moving forward. We’ve been planning for this for a number of years. Along with feeling proud, I also feel a huge weight of responsibility, as this is not just about us, but also about our responsibility to all those who served for 200 years. We have a fantastic name if you look back at our history - through the World Wars, the Indian mutiny - not just through operation activities but other activities as well. We, who are serving now, owe this to all those who served before and must ensure that we do the G200 properly to celebrate the 200 years.

Could you enlighten us about the nature of events that have been organized to commemorate the Gurkhas’ service to the Queen? We wanted to have a range of events and they serve two objectives. The first is to enhance the name of the Brigade of Gurkhas, to take pride in our 200 years of service and to remind people of the significant contributions of our soldiers who’ve come from Nepal and supported the crown for 200 years and at the same time remind them of the serving Brigade and of the range of capabilities we have and the contributions we make today. Second, there is fund raising for the Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT).

We quite rightly started the event in Nepal where a reception was organized at the British Embassy. This was followed by a huge mela in Tudikhel, which saw a crowd of around 3500. I was able to fly out the Gurkha Band and they trained the Nepalese Band, as the plan was to have a musical extravagnza of 800 musicians including our band who had trained for this for 3-4 weeks. Unfortunately the heavens opened and within minutes, the field was flooded and the event had to be cancelled. We also had regimental events, organized by the 2nd Gurkhas in Pokhara. I, however, went to Dharan as the 7th Gurkhas decided to do a one-day grand celebration; around 2500 ex-Gurhkas got reunited. It was an emotional day and my father also met his old Gurkha major after 30 years.

The Royal Gurkha Pageant at the Royal Hospital Chelsea was received with a lot of enthusiasm and fanfare. What was the main purpose for the pageant?  It was a Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) event; it was as opportunity to show the great and the good of the Gurkhas and also raise fund. While some of our Gurkha pensioners have come to the UK, there are still a number of them back in Nepal and the requirements for those Gurkha pensioners is more. The demands for medical service have increased. Our plan is to bring in a duty of care - mobile doctors, mobile nurses, district nurses and carers for all those who are in the 80s and 90s so they can have the best possible support to live out their lives with dignity. The Trust does more than that. It looks after the regions; it is putting up water and sanitation support and schools. As the welfare pensioners reduce, it will focus on more community projects and less individual aid.
The 24 Area Welfare centres also help the brigade. If there are problems back in Nepal, it is the GWT officers who report to the MOD about the difficulties; they help those who want to come to the UK.

Does GWT also operate in the UK? There are about 12,000 families of our ex-servicemen in the UK. The support provided nationally is better in the UK, like the National Health Service, benefits and pension, and housing. However, the GWT spends around £500,000 to support those newly arrived into the country and need settling up through the Advice Centres in Salisbury and Aldershot. The GWT staff sign post and give advice on form filling and claiming benefits. The Trust also gives money to the Army Benevolent Fund, which provides individual support to other ex-Gurkhas that need particular assistance.

The recent catastrophic earthquakes in Nepal have destroying many houses and taken more than 8000 lives, leaving the country in a vulnerable position. The Gurkhas, especially the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (QGE), have been deployed to Nepal as part of Operation LEYLAND. How have they been helping their homeland? Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Nepal, which is a beautiful country. Within the serving Brigade, everyone was extremely sad and very much thinking about Nepal. They were all desperate to go back to Nepal and support their fellowmen. I could have happily sent the entire Brigade but one has to remember that Nepal is a sovereign country and they are responsible for coordinating the response. We offered the support and the Nepalese Government accepted it. We felt that the Gurkha Engineers were probably the right choice. Some of the charities already there are experts in dealing with this sought of situation. QGE has been able to work with GWT scheme, shelter box, Oxfam, providing the immediate requirement for water, shelter and food. People need to be provided with some form of shelter before the monsoon comes.

Do you have any plans to send soldiers to Nepal for the earthquake relief works? I know that the Nepalese army is working full time. Our serving brigade members are thinking and supporting Nepal as best they can and I would happily offer more. But it is down to the Government of Nepal to decide what they want. It is quite amazing to see the amount of money that’s been raised. The fund that’s been coming nationally into the Disaster Emergency Committee or the Gurkha Welfare Trust emergency response fund is way more than UK provided for the Ebola crisis. It says much about the relationship between UK and Nepal.

The Gurkhas who were on the quest to scale Mount Everest had to be retrieved after the earthquakes hit the mountains. Will the quest resume in future? They’ve been planning for that for many years and have raised a huge amount of money. First I am very pleased that they all came back safe. Most of them were at Camp 1 and the route between Base Camp and Camp 1 was completely destroyed. We won’t be going back this year and no body I think will do so when the after shocks are still ongoing. But it is still our objective to put a serving Gurkha at the summit of Everest, which we haven’t done yet. I don’t know when that will be but I know that there is real support within the serving Gurkhas to do this. I hope we’ll be able to do it in the future.

Meanwhile, we have two people on exercise Arctic Gurkha and they are doing a 3-month trek on Ellesmere Island. Whilst many have gone up and down the Everest, only one group has ever done this before. Captain John Armstrong and Corporal Arjun Pun have just reached the first point of relief after a month. That is a hugely challenging feat and it has been done only once before. If they break the current record of 103 days, they should finish on the 1st of August.

How do you reach out to the ex-Gurkhas in Nepal? I want all my ex-servicemen to be able to stay up-to-date with what the brigade has been doing and that’s why we have a really comprehensive communication plan. We have a website and a Facebook page both under the Gurkha Brigade Association with electronic copies of Parbate available on the website. All our ex-servicemen, wherever they are, can stay up-to-date with what the serving brigade is doing to uphold the reputation of the Gurkhas.

We have been hearing rumours of Strategic Defense Security Review (SDSR) being implemented across the board. Could this have a knock on effect on the Brigade of Gurkhas? All I can talk about is what I know. The General Election is now complete and we have a single party government, which we weren’t expecting. They’ve always said that they’ll do the SDSR first. From my view, I’ve heard the PM say that he’ll not reduce the number of solders to below 82,000 and that’s very reassuring. This leads me to believe that our position, our units and our numbers within the current British Army should not change.

We are always looking for new roles and responsibilities. While His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei signed another 5-year agreement a few months ago, the UK RGR battalion moved to the 16 Air Assault Brigade to join the Parachute Regiments from the 4th of June. We continue to add capability across the army…we are well received, well regarded, and I think we are in a strong position. So if the Army stays at 82000, we should be fine.

Finally, do you have any message for the Gurkhas, both Ex- and present and their family members? Once a Gurkha, always a Gurkha! We have a fantastic reputation and once you set the bar that high, we must continue to maintain at that high, whether that’s administration, looking after our equipment, standards of discipline. We must uphold that reputation both for ourselves and for those who set that reputation in the 200 years before.

Click here for forecast of events.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Royalties honour the Gurkha Pageant to mark 200 years

The London Pageant marked the Brigade of Gurkhas’ 200 years of service to the British Crown. The Queen joined the celebration, which took place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Tuesday, along with the Sultan of Brunei. 

Image courtesy The Gurkha Welfare Trust
The pageant was the highlight of the year filled with celebrations marking the historic event. The hour-long programme showcased battle re-enactments and music by the Band of theBrigade of Gurkhas.

While historian Dan Snow and actress Joanna Lumley narrated the “story of the Gurkha soldier” as it was being performed, the Gurkha wives later displayed various life forms and cultures of Nepal. Joanna Lumley is the British actress, who campaigned for the Gurkhas resettlement rights in the UK in 2009.

The serving Gurkhas re-enacting the Indian mutiny
Image courtesy Dhanraj Rai
‘I feel honoured to be a part of such grandeur episode in the history of the Brigade of Gurkhas,’ said a Gurkha wife to me as we were having a conversation over dinner on the night before the pageant. She was among the Gurkha wives who performed before the Queen today.

A minute’s silence was observed remembering the victims of the recent earthquake of Nepal. More than 8000 people have died in the devastating earthquake, which took place on 25 April. A second tremor was felt on 12 May.

Moment of pride

Captain Dillikumar Rai from the 2nd  Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles had the prestigious role of carrying the Queen’s Truncheon at the pageant. The Queen’s Truncheon is called Nishani Mai in Nepali.

Captain Dillikumar Rai carrying Nishani Mai 
Image courtesy Dhanraj Rai
It was a moment of pride for the Gurkhas when Captain Ram Bahadur Limbu VC – the only VC alive today - and Sergeant Dipprasad Pun CGC, who was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 2011 for his bravery in Afghanistan, walked across the stage.

The Gurkhas have won 13 Victoria Crosses, the highest British Military decoration for valour.

The BBC reports that the Queen was introduced to veterans and serving Gurkhas and was shown artefacts from the regiments history.

Captain Ram Bahadur Limbu VC & Sergeant Dipprasad Pun CGC
Image courtesy Dhanraj Rai
Royalties among the dignitaries

Prince Philip, Prince Charles – the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles and Prince Harry accompanied the Queen.

The Sultan of Brunei, who recently renewed the long-standing agreement to station UK troops in Brunei for five years with Prime Minister David Cameron, was among the dignitaries in today’s event.

There are currently around 2,000 Gurkhas based in Brunei.


Gurkha Welfare Trust

According to the BBC, Col William Shuttlewood, director of the Gurkha Welfare Trust said, "The event raises funds not only in support of Gurkha veterans and their families in need and distress, but also to help them rebuild their communities after Nepal's recent devastating earthquakes."

Image courtesy The Gurkha Welfare Trust

Gurkha wives performing before the guests
Image courtesy Dhanraj Rai

A story of an inspiringly aspiring wife of a soldier

Among a handful of success stories of the wives of the Gurkhas is one of Dr Urmila Rai, a specialty trainee doctor year 2 (ST2) who is practicing under the KSS (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) deanery. Very humble and soft-spoken, Dr Rai, originally from Dharan, is the wife of Sergeant Basantakumar Rai. Recently blessed with a son, the duo was over the moon when I had the opportunity to talk to Dr Rai about one of the most coveted careers in our society for our G200 special.

1. How does it feel being a Gurkha wife and a doctor in Britain? I feel privileged to be talking to you about my career in this special edition.  Needless to say, Gurkhas are renowned all over the world for their bravery and honesty and so I take great pride in being a Gurkha wife.  Besides being a responsible doctor for a good healthcare system, I feel I have a contribution to make towards the families of the Brigade of Gurkhas to encourage them to realise their capabilities and strive to fulfil their aspirations in the wider British community.

2. There are a few Gurkha wives who’ve completed their MBBS from Nepal, Bangladesh or China but haven’t had the opportunity to be in the position that you are in today.  What makes you different from them? Personally, I don’t think I am any different from them. What I feel create the differences are personnel circumstances, priorities and fortune besides the person’s unique individuality. Other than my hard work, determination and patience, I am fortunate to have enduring family support from my parents and husband right from the beginning of my career. This has played a pivotal role in bringing me to the position that I am in today.

3. When did you qualify as doctor in Nepal? Did you also practice medicine in Nepal after completing your MBBS? I was registered as a qualified doctor in Nepal Medical Council (NMC) in 2009. As a part of my medical training, I practiced medicine as an intern for 1 year in Kathmandu Medical College where I graduated.


4. What obstacles did you come across while applying for a career as a doctor here in the UK? Once registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) UK, we need to get into the training post to specialise in a particular area. The training posts are mainly aimed for UK medical graduates.  So, in general, getting into the training post is one of the biggest challenges an overseas medical graduate has to face and so did I.

5. Was it easy getting the license to practise medicine here? To be eligible to apply for the license to practise medicine in the UK, we have to get through the PLAB test apart from the IELTS test. Although, the registration process is straight forward, it requires a lot of hard work, determination and dedication to prepare and pass the tests.

6. What is this PLAB test? First, one has to sit the IELTS test to demonstrate English language capability.  It is mandatory to achieve the minimum band in IELTS set by the GMC UK, which only accepts the IELTS score less than 2 years old.  Second, one has to demonstrate adequate knowledge and skills to practice medicine in UK by sitting the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board) test. This consists of 2 parts, PLAB 1 test (theory) and PLAB 2 test (Practical).  We also need certificate of good standing (CGS).  Once the above are achieved, one is eligible to apply for registration with the GMC UK.

7. Where do you practice your profession and what is your field of specialisation? My specialty is Paediatrics, which is a medical specialty that manages medical conditions affecting babies, children and young people.  I am working under the KSS (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) deanery and my specialty training is based in the hospitals within the deanery: East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust,  Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust are a few that come under the KSS deanery.  I have to work for either 6 months or a year in these hospitals on a rotational basis to get all levels of training.

8. How many years do you have until you complete your specialisation? Paediatrics is a competency-based specialty. Within the competency based program, it is expected for trainees to take 8 years to gain certificate of completion of training. I am in the second year into specialisation and it will take another 6 years to complete it.

9. How intensive is this field of study?  What’s the next level that you’ll be moving to? Any field in medicine is intensive as the primary duty of all doctors is for the care and safety of patients.  We have to keep our knowledge and skills up to date, as there are constant changes in practice, thanks to the on-going researches in the field of medicine.  Apart from our day-to-day practice in the hospital, we somehow also need to find spare time for extra studies. 

Currently, I am working as a specialty trainee doctor year 2 (ST2).  I need to sit for a set of exams, at least by year 4, to get an appointment as Registrar. Once I obtain the certificate of completion of training by the end of year 8, I would be eligible to apply for the post of consultant in General Paediatrics.

10. What’s the difference in the way the profession is practiced in Nepal and in the UK? NHS system has been ranked the No 1 healthcare system in the world for its good quality, accessibility and efficiency. Whereas, in our country, Nepal, health care system is still in the process of refinement due to limited resources and financial crisis.  In the UK, healthcare services are free and are therefore, accessible to all and we can request all the relevant investigations, which aid in making a diagnosis and providing precise treatment.  In Nepal, we have to consider the patient’s financial state before we can request for investigations to provide treatment. Therefore, we rely mostly on the patient’s medical history and clinical examinations to make a diagnosis.  There is a holistic approach in managing patients here in the UK unlike in Nepal where we focus mostly on physical treatment.

Social problems are one of the major issues in the UK, specially while discharging patients, mostly elderly, whereas back home we hardly come across such issues.  There is an excellent system of recording and tracking patients’ information here, which is a useful tool in providing continuous patient care and follow up for chronic illnesses. 

11. How would you describe yourself as a child?  Tell us about you as a student. Besides being a playful, curious and adventurous child, I was also self -disciplined, kind, honest and an obsessed cleaner.  Very ambitious, obedient and studious were my character traits as a student. Other than studying, I was keen on extracurricular activities like sports, martial arts, art and music, debates and oratory contests.

12. Your husband being in the army can’t avoid postings. How do you balance your personal and professional life? It is not easy being a wife of a soldier and having a career of your own as you have to make compromises and set priorities. Mutual understanding and respect is the key to a healthy and smooth relationship.  For me, my better half is very understanding and is supportive of everything that I put my effort into.  He not only encourages me to do better, but also leaves no stones unturned to create an environment where I can flourish and bring best out of me.  He always ensures to stay connected by any means and provide me with moral support wherever he is based in the world so I can fully concentrate on my studies and work to achieve my goals.

13. Can you share some of your experience as a wife of a soldier? I met my husband in 2003 and have been together since then.  However, the time we’ve spent together is hardly a year or two in total. Ideally, I would utterly love to accompany my husband wherever he is posted but I am obliged to stay back due to my commitment towards my training.  To be honest, sometimes I even go through separation anxiety but determination and self-control keeps me going. At times, they are deployed on operational tours of the likes of Afghanistan and it’s extremely difficult for any family to keep up with normal routine because of constant fear and worry.  Despite these few unpleasant experiences, there are many good aspects of being a wife of a soldier, an opportunity to travel around the world being one of them. I have been to Brunei, Malaysia, Germany, Holland and France, thanks to his posting. I also do not miss a chance to attend unique social events organised within and outside the regiment, as I enjoy meeting people from different background and sharing experiences. A multinational parade held in Exeter in 2009 is one of the most memorable functions where we had an honour to greet a member of the Royal family. 

14. Any words of wisdom to those who come from your background? To achieve your goals, apart from hard work, you need to stay positive, be patient and persistent. It’s a universal law and applies to all.

15. Finally, Happy New Year to you and your entire family! Any messages to the Nepalese in the UK on the occasion of Nepalese New Year 2072? Thank you very much and Happy New Year to all the members of the Brigade of Ghurkhas and the Nepalese around the world too.  We have seen a huge rise in illness caused by harmful behaviours, like smoking, drinking too much alcohol or lack of exercise.  I wish for everyone to take more responsibility towards your health as a little effort can make all the difference.