Gorkha Delelopment Scheme (GDS) is a small grass roots charity run in the UK by a small group of dedicated Trustees who work voluntarily in managing the charity and linking with the sister charity in Nepal Gorkha and District Health and Education Development Scheme (GDHEDS) to enable the running of projects.This small team also work tirelessly to fund-raise in the UK to ensure worthwhile projects in Gorkha can be funded.
Our Trustees in the UK are :-
Joy Leighton ( Founder, Patron)
Joy was for 25 years a teacher at the Stock Primary School near Chelmsford, Essex. After retirement in 1986, Joy traveled to Nepal for a trekking holiday in the Gorkha region and whilst there called in at a local school. This started a friendship with the Headmaster and a special relationship with the Gorkhali people. Overcoming the communication difficulties of the time (no email or phone!) Joy founded the charity to help the poorest people in Gorkha. She has remained the active chairwoman of the UK charity and has continued to work hard over more than 20 years to help enhance the prospect of the people of Gorkha through facilitating projects and encouraging new people and volunteers to become involved in the charity.
Linda Blunt – MSc Development Management(OU), Cert Ed. M.Hort (RHS) – Co-Chairperson /Secretary
Linda is a self employed horticulturist/trainer wh
o worked for 20 years as a Senior Horticultural lecturer at Writtle College in Essex. During a sebatical year travelleing throughout Asia in 1997, Linda trekked the Annapurna Circuit and then volunteered in Gorkha through GDS, Later, Linda initiated, and for 10 years managed a Higher Education University link between Writtle and the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Nepal and so maintained the strong bond with the Nepali people. Following the experience of volunteering in Gorkha Linda became active in the GDS charity and as well as being a trustee since 1990 she is now the Co-Chair and the secretary and more recently has undertaken to compile the GDS website, work with volunteers and liase with GDHEDS members in Gorkha and basically keep everything together!. Linda is also Membership Secretary for the Tropical Agriculture
Jan Raven BSc (Hons) M.Hort – Co-Chairperson
After completion of studies in horticulture, in 2012 Jan spent 6 weeks as a volunteer at Mahendra Jyoti school working with Headmaster Laxman. In 2013 Jan was confirmed as a Trustee and later that year returned to Nepal to undertake a fundraising trek for Essex Ambulance and also visited Gorkha at that time.
Amir Karmacharya Qualified Accountant – Treasurer
Amir trained as an accountant in Nepal and was also involved in charity work in his homeland. He now lives and works as an accountant in London, UK. Amir is the Treasurer of GDS UK as well as helping in communications and money transfer to Nepal.
Geeta Karmacharya RGN, BSC (hons), Community Nurse Practitioner-District Nursing
Originally a very active resident of Gorkha, and president of the Gorkha Women’s Association for a number of years, Geeta also worked within the charity sector in Nepal. Geeta traveled to London and trained as a nurse and now works as a district nurse team leader in the UK as well as looking after two children. Geeta is a trustee of GDS working with her husband Amir to enhance communications with Nepal and takes particular interest in the womens group in Gorkha GWA. Geet has recently taken over the role of co-ordinator for the Electives programe within the charity.
Naomi Cairns BSc (Hons)
Following completion of a Biomedical Sciences degree, she is currently studying medicine at Warwick university to become a doctor. Naomi has visited Nepal three time, first in 2011 as a volunteer at Mahendra Jyoti school as a teaching assistant for 6 weeks. In 2013 Naomi returned to Gorkha to see project development. Later that year Naomi was confirmed as a Trustee of GDS. Her most recent visit was Sept 2017 for very short stay and update.
Zoe spent 6 weeks volunteering in Gorkha in 2015, she then travelled parts of Asia and returned to Gorkha to see her special friends and also saw the devastation caused by the April 2015 earthquake.
Zoe is a full time Occupational Therapist and has a particular interest in women’s rights and working in low resource countries. Zoe helps Linda with co-ordinating health volunteers and is eager for Occupational Therapists to volunteer with GDS to support the local community in Gorkha. When Zoe was in Gorkha, she spent time with Gorkha Women’s Association (GWA) and has great respect for all the women and what they do. Therefore Zoe has re-gained their membership with the ACWW an international women’s group, and will continue to work to gain funding for future GWA projects.
Olivia graduated in Sports Science and now follows a career in recruitment Olivia manages the GDS Facebook page and assists with Newsletters and other marketing
Assistance is also given by many friends and family of the Trustees to include Lindas husband Darren and Naomi’s parents, Linda and Brian.
GDHEDS Nepal Committee
The GDHEDS (Gorkha District Health and Education Development Scheme) Nepal committee represent our partner NGOs and each of the groups we work with in Gorkha and are our link with the local community. They meet on a regular basis and and are key to communication with the UK. Members of the committee facilitate medical student and volunteer visits, discuss project proposals from our partner groups and handle transfer of finances.
Chairman: Purushottam Aryal – Headmaster and Founder member
Member immediate past president: Badri Bahadur Maskey Local Businessman, Chairman of the Hospital Committee
Vice Chairman: Ram Chandra Duwadi – Campus Chief
Secretary: Sarita Aryal – GWA President
Treasurer: Ram Kumar Shrestha
Members: Laxman Babu Acharya – Headmaster from Shree Mahendra School, Yung Kumar Shrestha – President of Youth Movement
Official Members: Representative, Gorkha Hospital and Gorkha Municipality
Regular meetings are held in the UK and in Gorkha for programme updates. Correspondence between the groups is mostly via email though skype is now playing an important part in overcoming disparate members communication. Minutes of meetings are available upon request.
Life for women in Nepal, even among educated middle classes, is quite different from that of women in the West. Family is always expected to come first, and marriage and children often take precedence over education and a career.
Many women in poorer families are illiterate and completely dependent on their husbands or fathers for money.
Gorkha Development Scheme helped found the Gorkha Women’s Association (GWA) which was set up in the early 1990′s with the aim of supporting the local women of Gorkha.
GWA members at AGM 1997
Initially there were 131 members in and around Gorkha, and a second group developed at nearby Sauli Bazaar with 64 members. The members form a committee and the aim is to hold regular meetings which give them a chance for social gatherings as well as training and skill development and GDS has continued to support the GWA closely, being available to provide advice, support and funding for projects proposed by the GWA.
In turn, the GWA has been eager to step up and help out with GDS-initiated projects, such as the Hygiene Education Programme.
The GWA is affiliated to the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW)
The Youth Movement for Environment ( no longer active)
The Youth Movement for Environment (YM) of Gorkha was formed to encourage the young people of the town to be involved in community projects. An early project included the distribution of waste bins in the town to enhance street cleanliness in the community. GDS became involved with YM through the funding of village outreach clinics. These were run by YM members, with particular focus on the health of infants and their mothers. Members accompanied the paramedic, who administered the government vaccination programme and undertook general health assessments. GDS funded these clinics at £300 per year, which covered vaccination and medicine costs, nurse time, and a porter to carry the equipment. The volunteers organised the clinic and kept records.
Having run for 10 years, very successfully, the outreach clinics were finally stopped when government-run clinics began at the hospital, and villagers no longer needed the YM-run clinics and Youth Movement is now inactive.