As a Nepalese native, Aachal Gurung more than simply understands what impact disaster relief can have on victims of disasters.
Nepal is prone to disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and floods that kill and affect thousands every year--the most prevalent disaster being the horrific earthquake in April 2015 where the American Red Cross has a significant impact in recovery efforts.
Aachal dedicated much of her time to the Red Cross’s efforts of providing disaster relief, starting her time with the American Red Cross in 2014 when she first moved to the Bay Area. As volunteer, Aachal worked on supporting major fundraising events and now works as a foundation and grant volunteer where she conducts research for foundations and helps the development team with their projects.
When the Earthquake struck, Aachal had developed an increased passion for responding to disasters and took immediate action to help her home country and fellow Nepalese community though she was still in the Bay Area. “I have seen how negatively disasters bring physical, psychological, and economic impact on the affected populations since my childhood and volunteering was the best way I could contribute to help,” she recalls.
She volunteered for a Vietnamese Master fundraising event where all the proceeds from the three-day treatment went to the American Red Cross’s Nepal Earthquake Relief effort. She also greatly assisted the local development team by writing and sending thank you letters to donors who contributed to relief effort. “This was personally satisfying as well, as I felt I was making a small impact to help the Nepal Earthquake relief efforts,” stated Aachal.
Outside of the Red Cross, Aachal helped organize a fundraiser for a local Nepalese non-profit community, in which she was the treasurer. The event raised $6,500 to aid in relief efforts.
Aachal was inspired in that she witnessed multiple communities of different backgrounds coming together to fundraise for the Nepal relief efforts. She was amazed at the variety of events that were held in the community, showing solidarity for her home country. “This shows that to help and understand other person’s helplessness and suffering, you don’t need to have blood ties or share something in common. As a Nepalese, I am forever grateful to them”.
Aachal’s long-term plan is to go back to Nepal and take knowledge and skills she has learned while volunteering at the American Red Cross to make an impactful change in her county.