The origins of Namaste Nepal go back more than 30 years. Two Scout Leaders from Bristol were “lost” in the jungle in the south of Nepal, en route to an international jamboree near Kathmandu. By chance, an 11 year old Nepalese Scout came to their rescue and offered them his family’s hospitality for the night. A friendship was born and they kept in touch. Hari Bhandary went on to complete his education and studied at university in Kathmandu. He returned to his village of Meghauli with a dream to build a medical clinic, and turned to Peter and Beryl Shore for help. (The full story of how the medical clinic came into being is an inspiring read and can be found at friendshipclinicnepal.org ).
Peter and Beryl, through their family charity, The Friendship Clinic Nepal, provided financial support to Hari and the medical clinic. As the clinic grew, its work developed beyond that of healing the sick to addressing the root causes of illness. It became an umbrella organisation for providing clean drinking water, improving hygiene and sanitation, establishing kindergartens, and acquiring and stocking a farm to create produce to feed hungry and malnourished young children.
In 2005, with the help of The Friendship Clinic Nepal, a Scout Troop was started in Meghauli. Leaders were found and a troop of 18 boys and 18 girls was opened.
The 1st Meghauli (Friendship Clinic) Scout Troop was visited in 2007 by Scouts from the 90th Bristol and 47th Plymouth. They organised and ran a Jungle Jamboree which was attended by 35 local Scouts and their leaders – their first experience of camping and nights away from home!
Despite the surges of enthusiasm, it proved difficult for the Scout Troop to grow and become self-sustaining. There was no support mechanism in place for the leaders. Civil unrest and political added to the problems. For long periods the Troop didn’t meet. Eventually, a new leader was found – someone who had attended that Jungle Jamboree in 2007 as a Scout! The Troop re-opened in 2011.
In 2012, a second Friendship Clinic Troop was started at Daldale, a children’s home and orphanage.
In October 2014, 30 Explorer Scouts and Leaders from Cabot District visited Meghauli to run the 2nd Jungle Jamboree. 250 Nepalese Scouts attended. The enthusiasm generated by the visit enabled Cabot to sponsor the third Friendship Clinic Troop in Bayarghari and 36 Scouts were invested at the Jamboree.
In October 2016, 10 Leaders from Cabot District returned to Meghauli and ran a training camp for Young Leaders. With the permission of the Chitwan District Scout Commissioner, the first Cub Pack in Chitwan, sponsored by Cabot, was opened and 24 Cubs invested.