Maj Khim Gauchan
The BCCUK Public relations (PR) is about managing its potential devotees and well-wishers who would like to gain the understanding of Buddha and Buddhism whilst supporting general community as well as trying to influence opinion and behaviour. This also involves all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of the BCCUK itself and its devotees/members. These range from public speaking to supporting the voluntary organisations.
It is also to communicate key messages in order to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between the BCCUK and its public community whilst finding out the concerns and expectations of your community and then report and explain the findings to its executive management body for betterment.
As the BCCUK PR officer, I have been firstly volunteering and usually work in-house. The varied roles and tasks that I have been carrying out often involve from communicating schools, youth leaders (Scout, Beavers and Cubs) where their educational/cultural visit planning, developing and delivering take place throughout the year. Some of the time has also been utilised liaising with and answering enquires from community, faith leaders, individuals and other council organisations often via telephone and email. One of the biggest objective of my tenure as the PRO so far has been fostering community relations through events such as organising community involvement and initiatives.
Soon after the massive earthquake disaster took place in Nepal back in April 2015, the BCCUK managed to raise a significant amount of money to assist the victims of natural disaster. The Executive Committee than advised if I could be a lead to manage the earthquake funds for Nepal, which was a huge opportunity for me to formulate the plan and deliver its aim. With the help of local professionals (Doctors, Nurses and few management team, a group formed up along with Dr Rijal and flew to Gurkha district where they physically assisted those sufferers who were in desperate need.
On the other hand, a primary school (Singerche) of many in Sindhupalchok was chosen for its complete rebuild since the original school was destroyed by the earthquake. Amongst two epic centres of a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 rector scale, Sindhupalchok was unfortunately one of them. With the kind additional donation of the BCCUK, Southlea GP Doctors and staff, Padre from Frensham village and a local Nepali youth group (Nepal Banau), the school had its completion in Nov 18.
As a PRO, it needs to have an excellent communication, interpersonal and writing skills and willingness
to learn. One of the critical lessons that I have learnt from this responsibility to cope with pressure whilst maintaining teamwork and problem-solving skills through a good knowledge of the BCCUK current affairs. Throughout last 4 years of my time, there has been a couple of occasions where I have been replaced by somebody else to carry out these events. At times, it has been tiring and sheer pressurised, but I have learnt a great deal of it and hope my contribution over the period helped few if not many.
Majority working periods have been generally unsocial hours from briefing the school educational/cultural visit in the evenings and its own official programs normally during the weekends. The number of visitors has increased significantly for last two years where you can see the attendance graph below.
In summary, it has been a tremendous privilege to be an integral part of this holy place where only good deeds take place. I am also truly grateful to both executive committee that I have had so far for allowing to work in the most satisfying level.