Rona Popal

With a degree from Cal State East Bay in Political Science and International Relations, Rona Popal worked as a social services caseworker for 18 years as a Refugee Eligibility Worker and Employment Counselor with the Alameda County Department of Social Services. She determined client eligibility for cash aid; processed applications for and authorized the distribution of cash aid; referred clients to social service agencies; advised and counseled newly arrived refugees about adjustment issues; advised program management about cultural issues relevant to effective program operation. Later she assisted Community-Based Organizations with the development of effective training and job placement opportunities for refugees; monitored community job training programs; conducted orientation sessions for Afghan clients about programs available through CalWorks; coached and counseled clients about how to find and maintain employment; evaluated client work assessments and work plans; referred clients to appropriate employment programs; established and maintained relationships with employers

Rona Popal has worked as the Executive Director for the Afghan Coalition since it was founded in 1996. She develops and evaluates programs that address the needs of the local Afghan community and Afghan women in Pakistan and Afghanistan; establishes and maintains relationships with local funders, community leaders, government agencies and social service agencies; oversees all agency fundraising; develops and manages agency budgets; monitors agency finances; supervises agency personnel and volunteers; advocates for Afghan women locally and internationally; represents the local Afghan community in local, national and international conferences; represents the Afghan community with the media; conducts community awareness campaigns to educate the broader Fremont community about the history, culture and current needs of the Afghan people.

Accomplishments:

  • Organized Afghan community response to the events of 9/11, including community-wide conferences and town hall meetings to maintain a dialog between Afghans and non-Afghans
  • Served as Afghan liaison to local and national media in the wake of 9/11
  • Founded Afghan Women’s Association in 1992
  • Founded Afghan Coalition in 1998
  • Founded program for Afghan Elderly in 1996
  • Founded Afghan Widows Program in 1996
  • Founded Women’s Health Education Program in 1998
  • Founded Women’s Domestic Violence Project in 1999
  • Participated in Congressional hearings in 1994 and 1998 on gender issues in Afghanistan
  • Co-founder of Afghan Mental Health
Awards and Recognition:

2002:   International Woman of the Year Award from the Silicon Valley Women’s Organization

2002:  Commendation from Representative Pete Stark for efforts on behalf of the Afghan people

2002:  Letter of Recognition from U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein for humanitarian work of behalf of Afghan women locally and abroad

2007: Unity Award from California

2016-Achievement award from Afghan community

2017-Nancy O’Malley’s  Hero award

2018- Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame.