Media releases

Federation University student draws on earthquake experience to help peers

Posted: Monday 27 July 2020

An international student at Federation University Australia is drawing on his own experience of a natural disaster to help other students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Master of Social Work student Pranaya Lohani has been working to provide support and advice to fellow international students at Federation University’s Berwick Campus.

Mr Lohani believes his experience of a massive earthquake in Nepal five years ago had equipped him to help others experiencing difficulty during the pandemic.

In addition to offering door-to-door support and advice to students on campus as a trained Residential Advisor, Mr Lohani is among students and staff who volunteer at the campus’s Community Pantry, which provides food, groceries and access to support services to students.

The Community Pantry was opened to all domestic and international students this month, after operating for residential students since May.

It is supported by Federation University, Berwick charity and community groups including Foodbank Victoria, Crossway LifeCare and members of the Sikh community.

Students are welcome to visit the campus to access grocery items and support between 11am and 1pm every Friday, maintaining social distancing in line with restrictions in Melbourne. Safe hygiene practises are practised within the pantry and all items are wiped down to ensure student safety.

The Community Pantry is among the practical and financial support initiatives available to students experiencing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community pantries also operate at Federation University campuses in Gippsland and Ballarat.

Quotes attributable to Federation University Federation Head, Berwick Campus, Kathy Racunica

“Recent months have been challenging for international and domestic students, but it has been wonderful to see the way that the university and wider community have come together to support students in need.”

Quotes attributable to student Pranaya Lohani

“It has been a particularly difficult time for many students, especially those who began their studies this year. I have been going door-to-door to offer support to students who are trying to find work after losing their jobs, or who might just need some words of advice.” 

“I feel that I’m in a good position to offer my support, having experienced disaster when a massive earthquake occurred in Nepal in 2015. During these times, I think it is important that we are there for each other.”

Contact Fleur Morrison
Media and Communications Advisor