Rona Popal was inducted into the Community Service Category in 2018.
Rona Popal is a recognized leader in the Afghan community of the Bay Area and a champion of Afghan women’s rights locally and around the world. A native of Kabul, Afghanistan, Rona began working with local Afghan refugees while employed with the Alameda County Social Services Agency. In 1992, she launched the Afghan Women’s Association to focus on the unique challenges faced by Afghan Women, both locally and globally. Later she founded the Afghan Coalition, a Fremont nonprofit that quickly became an essential resource for Afghan refugees adjusting to life in America. After September 11, 2001, Rona led efforts to foster understanding and prevent a hateful backlash against Afghans living in America. She has raised attention to the issue of domestic violence in Afghan culture and founded the Afghan Mental Health Project to help refugees cope with traumatic experiences in war-torn Afghanistan.