Memories from the past

Rajani and her daughter Salika at Nepal in the Park

We migrated to Australia with our children in 1992. It was a new life for us and we were very excited for our future. But we were also a bit scared and very home sick as there were not many Nepalese families residing here in Brisbane at that time. There were only 4 Nepalese families and 2 students in Brisbane area. Initially it was difficult to get use to the system as everything was different for us from Nepal.

We heard about NAFA’s work from other Nepali families so we became interested to support NAFA. We were very excited when we knew about NAFA and quickly got involved with its fundraising activities. Those events were like Christmas for us, as we could meet our fellow Nepalese and NAFA members who had also became our second family. After meeting all those kind hearted selfless NAFA volunteer and we became more motivated to become involve with NAFA’s activities.

For a number of years NAFA’s New Year dinner was held at Ukraine Hall at South Bank. Poonam didn’t own restaurant those days so Nepalese ladies use to help Punam to cook New Year Dinner. We use to struggle to find dancers so we taught our children Nepalese dance and encouraged them to perform during the New Year dinner function. Preparing dancing costumes was also a big challenge. However with limited resources we had managed to prepare basic costumes. Currently our community has varieties of dance costumes bought from Nepal.

Nafa is doing tremendous job by raising fund and helping poor and needy people in Nepal. Our very small effort makes a huge difference to the poor and needy people in Nepal. NAFA members is doing just amazing job. Any small effort could make a huge difference to the poor people in Nepal. I salute all the members of NAFA from the core of my heart. I would like to thank all the regular patrons and new patrons for coming along to support NAFA’s fundraising efforts, which make a huge difference. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to make a difference. Rajani Khadka


Rajani and Nirmila

When we first arrived in Brisbane city (1994), we had very mixed feelings. We were excited for our new journey of life with two little girls in the new city but at the same time nervous living in the very different environment, community and culture surrounding us. We didn’t know how we were perceived, what to expect and what was expected from us.

At that time there were only around 3-4 Nepalese families living in Brisbane and we never forget their enormous help in getting settled here. Through these friends, we learned about NAFA and its charity work in Nepal. It was a very comfortable feeling knowing that the members of the Australian community not only know Nepal but were dedicated to help lift the lives of people of our country, more than us as a Nepali ever thought of. We felt very proud to be the friends of NAFA and be involved in its fund raising activities.

Dancing at the Nepalese New Year dinner

NAFA’s New Year cultural night and then Hike to Help Nepal were the two annual events we looked forward to every year. Coming early to help Punam in the kitchen and spending the evening with different activities reminded us of our big festivals back home and we always enjoyed it. At that time, this was the only opportunity for us (Nepalese ladies) to put our Saris on and we felt good to be there presenting ourselves in it. These events allowed us to communicate with Australian friends and families in a relaxed and family environment which is unlikely to happen with work colleagues.

In those days there were not many Nepalese living in Brisbane to cover all items for an hour of cultural program. In our first year, we saw Roma (a Nepali University student) and other few girls like Prashamsa (Badri daughter), Salika (Hari’s daughter), Kritika (Kiran’s daughter) and couple of other kids performing. Couple of dances were also performed by Indian or Sri-Lankan dancers to fill-up the time. Although these professional dancers were helping NAFA raise funds, as Nepalese, we felt like our identity was in crisis. Even though coming from a family background where as girls we were never encouraged to dance or perform in public, we encouraged our very little children (as young as 5 year olds) to learn to dance for NAFA.

Nirmila visiting a project in Lapsaphedi

The children looked very cute dressed in Nepalese costumes and the audience always loved them. This encouraged new comers like my daughter Neha and many other kids who arrived in the later years to learn Nepalese dance and perform at the cultural night. The girls used to get so excited to get dressed, get a makeup and perform once a year. These events created opportunities for these kids to perform on a stage, develop their self-confidence and learn to be part of a charity to help others from a very young age. For the past 25 years, many of our Nepalese children grew up with NAFA; they performed every year until they finish their high school. Many of them are adults now and are trying to build up their career. Once they settle in their career, I am confident they will be back helping NAFA with the volunteering work and other fund raising activities.


Nepalese women supporting NAFA’s New Year dinner

We adults were also very proud that even before we were fully settled in this new country, we became part of NAFA community and help raise funds help other Nepalese. We are fortunate to have our NAFA in Brisbane and to have Australian friends who would fully dedicate their time to help disadvantaged people in Nepal. From NAFA’s excellent minded and good heart members, our family has learned a great lesson of kindness and dedication and we will continue to help NAFA in as many ways as we can in achieving its goal of improving lives of those in need. We wish NAFA a very happy 25th anniversary and look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries in future.

Nirmala Pandeya