Northern Virginia Community College student Sumana Dawadi has been volunteering and helping those in need since she was a small child growing up in a remote town in Nepal – far from the capital city and without a television or phone.
At 13, she started volunteering with the Nepal Red Cross Society and when her homeland experienced a devastating flood in early 2017, Sumana’s natural response was to figure out how she could help despite living in the U.S. To help out her country, Sumana started a Go Fund Me fundraiser where she raised more than $2,000 to help those devastated by the natural disaster in Nepal.
For her efforts to give back to her country while residing in the U.S., Sumana has been named one of three recipients of the 2017 Nepali Women of the Year America. The award is for women of Nepal who live in the United States but still give back, volunteer and donate to communities in their home country.
“I have been volunteering since I was very little. When you have passion and you see things going on around you, it kind of stops you,” she said. “The recent flood in Nepal was the biggest flood in the country in the last 20 years. I always did what I could when I was back in Nepal, like fundraising with friends. I was really happy that I could help one of the remote villages where I could provide to 120 households.”
Sumana is not new to donating, volunteering and helping those in need. In 2014, she started a campaign titled “Essence to Flower,” an effort to stop sexual harassment in private places and in public – such as on city transportation. Sumana has also worked as a nurse in Nepal and served on various disaster response teams as a part of the Nepal Red Cross Society.
When her home country was hit by massive earthquakes, Sumana went to work assisting in the national life saving efforts and was honored by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society as one of the most influencing volunteers of the year in 2015.
Sumana moved to the U.S. in January 2016 to attend college as part of her journey to make an international impact as a nurse. Previously, Sumana attended a four-year college in Missouri before moving to Virginia where she learned more about the opportunities at NOVA and enrolled in classes. After completing her studies at NOVA, Sumana hopes to transfer to George Washington University to continue studying nursing.
“For several years, I will be focused on my studies,” Sumana said. “Then I really want to complete my nursing degree so I can work in a big organization and work with crisis or helping with disasters. I always wanted to have an international degree and work in every part of the world.”
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.