A leading Scottish Asian businesswoman has been appointed as Honorary Consul General for Nepal. Glasgow based, Mrs Sunita Poddar, Managing Director of Lambhill Court Ltd and a Trustee of The Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust, became the first Scottish Asian woman to be made an honorary consul at a ceremony in the Embassy of Nepal in London recently. She said: ‘This is a great honour. God has given me this opportunity and I will do my best. I am looking forward to helping and providing more opportunities for the Nepalese community living and serving in Scotland. As the first Honorary Consul General to be appointed in Scotland, I plan to further promote a stronger relationship between Nepal and Scotland by strengthening cooperation in business, culture, technology and tourism. By focusing on these key areas, we can empower the next generation of Nepalese living in Scotland and provide them with more sustainable opportunities.” She is also hopeful of enabling Nepalese women in Scotland to access language learning facilities.
Currently, there are approximately 4500 Nepalese people in Scotland.
Born in India, Mrs Poddar was raised from an early age by her grandmother in Nepal. On coming to the UK in 1977 as a young bride, she ran several business. Then, in 1986, she and her husband Sam Poddar established a care home. Their company – Lambhill Court Ltd now has five highly rated care homes in the Glasgow area.
World wide travelling to carry out various philanthropic works has allowed her to see clearly the importance of countries uniting through diplomatic partnerships.
Said Mrs Poddar: “I have a strong business background. We have an opportunity to change the way Scotland and Nepal interact. In these times of uncertainty when it has been difficult to plan strategically, we have to ensure that our collective voice is heard as it will shape the future of our Nepalese presence in Scotland.”
“This appointment will certainly help to enhance the bilateral relations, trade, tourism and culture between Scotland and Nepal,” said His Excellency Dr Suresh C Chalise, Ambassador of Nepal to United Kingdom at the formal handing over of a letter of credence in April 2013 at the Embassy in London.
In 2009 Mrs Poddar donated The Little Cumbrae Island to The Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust in Scotland. This UK registered charity promotes health and well -being through yog(a) exercise. Among other plans, Mrs Poddar aims to improve the health of the people of Scotland by teaching everyone yog(a), free.
A group of 20 youngsters have left Glasgow for the roof of the world and a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to follow in the footsteps of climbing greats – Sir Chris Bonnington and Dougal Haston.
After a hectic round of fundraising, the travellers, part of the Who Cares? Scotland advocacy group, are off to Kathmandu, Nepal. The 11-day trip will involve a 100-kilometre trek, taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
Who Cares? Scotland celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and the adventurers had to raise nearly £2,000 each to make their trip a reality. The money goes to pay for flights, travel in Nepal, expedition leaders, porters, food and accommodation.
The visit will also be a boost for Community Action Nepal (CAN), which aims to raise awareness of people living in remote villages with its focus on health and education projects.
Expedition leader Grant Gilroy, a regional manager with Who Cares? Scotland, says the trek through Bhara Pokhari region West of Kathmandu, will not be a cakewalk, but it will have its compensations.
‘Foreigners seldom take this particular route and, consequently, the Nepalese greet visitors with a great deal of friendliness.’
Trek veteran Grant added: ‘This is a major undertaking for Who Cares? Scotland. We are collaborating with CAN and Scottish local authorities to raise much-needed money to improve the health and education of people in Nepal.’
Who Cares? Scotland’s chief executive, Heather Gray, who is also participating, believes travel will broaden the minds of the Scottish youngsters.
‘This trip is giving young people in care throughout Scotland and their workers the opportunity to plan and work towards an amazing experience that will provide them with a completely different perspective on their lives.’
Trekker David Dunne, who is young people’s chairman on Who Cares? Scotland’s board, said: ‘I am so excited to be part of this adventure and for me and the other young people going to Nepal it’s a dream come true and will inspire us to even greater things in our lives.’
Fundraising efforts are ongoing and a series of events including hill climbs, walks, cycle rides, supermarkets and Nepalese themed evenings are planned. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/nepaltrek2009. Who Cares? Scotland’s website can be found at www.whocaresscotland.org.