Staff at Burnley solar energy specialist Solarlec have rallied to support a popular colleague raising cash for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
Nepal-born Kamal Rauniar – a senior renewable energy advisor with Solarlec – had an anxious three days when the violent 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on April 25th.
Kamal (63) has an extensive family network living close to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, which was devastated by the quake. It includes five of his brothers and their families.
“It was very, very worrying when I saw the amount of damage and loss of life on the TV news,” said Kamal, who has lived in the UK since 1986.
“I tried to ring straight away, but the lines were chock-a-block or had been brought down, or the local power supplies were out. There was just no way to get through.”
After three agonising days he did finally manage to speak to a family member.
I tried to ring straight away, but the lines were chock-a-block or had been brought down, or the local power supplies were out. There was just no way to get throughKamal Rauniar
Kamal is North-West co-ordinator of Sewa UK, the British affiliate of Indian-based Sewa International (Bharat) which was first on the ground in Nepal distributing vital aid.
Kamal turned first to his Solarlec colleagues at the company’s head offices on Burnley’s Billington Road industrial estate – going round with a bucket asking for donations.
“On my first round, even though no-one knew I was coming, I collected £78. I was really moved, especially by the tele-appointers who just emptied the piggy banks on their desks into my bucket. I told my colleagues I would come round again two weeks later, and that time I collected more than £120.”
Kamal’s wife, Alka (53), collected £580 from her colleagues, and that was just the beginning. Kamal was already planning to take part in the Sewa UK annual Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on the first Sunday in May.
The 400 participants raised £7,900 which they gave to Kamal’s fund-raising effort for the Nepal Appeal.
Kamal added: “Our son Shaunak (21), who was at the Uni at the time of the earthquake, was so moved by the devastation he saw on the TV that he immediately pledged to his friends on social media that he would shave his head if he could collect £500.
“Within two days he reached his target and duly had his head shaved.”
Donations can be made online at www.sewauk.org, or by texting “SEWA14 £10” to 70070.