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A call close to home

A Canadian, Bijay left everything as a humanitarian aid worker to return to his home in Nepal to support his own community
April 25, 2015 was a day the world watched in shock at the devastating snapshots on TV of century-old monuments tumbling to the ground, homes collapsing amidst the dust and people looking for loved ones under the rubble. But for Bijay Bharati, a Nepali-Canadian, it was his worst nightmare. His wife and children were staying in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. Working with the Canadian Red Cross as a Health Delegate in South Sudan, Bijay watched the news unfold.
Bijay Bharati, whose wife and children were staying in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, was working with the Canadian Red Cross as a Health Delegate in South Sudan“The moment I heard that there was an earthquake in Nepal, I felt like I have to be with my family. I had to make a choice,” recalls Bijay. “I wanted to stand with my family and join the Nepal citizens to face the situation.”
Using his skills and knowledge in humanitarian response, Bijay supported his local community, giving everything he had – food, water and shelter – to share with his neighbours and the community that needed it. At one point, the aftershocks forced them to set up tents in an open field close by.
“Even though there were aftershocks, we tended to be together, helping each other,” says Bijay. “We built up our psychosocial support with each other.”
Bijay’s motivation to help his community in Nepal continued – he was hired by Canadian Red Cross shortly after to support the ongoing recovery efforts.
“Being a Canadian born in Nepal, I felt like this was my moment to work for the people that have lost their lives, lost their homes and lost their families and even the attachment to their livestock. That is why I also wanted to come back to the Red Cross.”
He recognizes that the trait of giving back holds true among many Canadians. “Canadians are always responsive to emergencies and support wherever the need is required.”
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