Yorkshire Housing helps former Gurkha get a good night’s sleep

A former Gurkha and his wife no longer need to sleep on a mattress after a housing association stepped in to help the couple get a new bed.

Gajurman Rai, 74, and his wife, Dhan Kumari, were found to be sleeping on a mattress on the bedroom floor of their rented home in Catterick Garrison.

After learning of the Rais’ situation, charity Community First Yorkshire got in touch with Yorkshire Housing’s Swale home improvement agency to see what help it could provide.

The agency works with local authorities and partner agencies to help older homeowners, disabled people, and those on low incomes by doing works on their homes.

Yorkshire Housing’s needs advice and support officer, Christine Potter, said that because neither Rai nor his wife could speak English, the organization had to speak for them.

A fellow former-Gurkha, Tej Gaha, who lives in the area provided translation for the Rais.

“Mr Rai needed a new bed and a rice cooker. This might not seem like a big deal to you or me but rice is a part of their culture and it was important to them,! Said Potter.

“The ex-forces support is managed through Community First Yorkshire, which aims to provide various items to help people in their day-to-day lives. In this case, that was a bed and a rice cooker. The Rais are very humble people who are on a low income and they can become quite isolated. To them this is significant. That is what these funds are meant to do – make a difference.”

Rai joined the British Army in 1961 and fought for the country for nine years through the 1960s, serving in Malaysia, Borneo and Hong Kong before he demobbed in 1969.

Thanks to the national campaign highlighting the plight of the Gurkhas, headed and supported by actor Joanna Lumley, Rai won the right to live in the UK, but he is not entitled to an Army pension.

Rai and his wife, Dhan Kumari, have lived in rented accommodation in Catterick Garrison since 1997.

The Gurkhas are Nepalese soldiers who are recruited annually into the British Army and have been for the last 200 years. Gurkhas are known to be fearless fighters in combat and carry with them the Kukri, a traditional curved blade that is said to have to taste blood each time it is drawn.



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