Workshops promote community awareness on social issues

Roopa Aur Aap Trust sets a trend in voluntary service

Venkat Raman

Amdist a plethora of self-servers, there are a few do-gooders who dwelve into neglected areas of vulnerable people and provide them solace and support, adding to the oft-forgotten adage that ‘every beneficary adds to indvidiual reward.

Roopa Suchdev, Chief Executive and Project Manager of Roopa Aur Aap Trust, based in Mt Roskill, Auckland, is one such person, to whom the cancer of family violence and elderly abuse is as bad as the one that grows within the body.

Her service to the eradidation of the social cancer has seen palpable differnece in recent years and this year-end Report is a tribute to her selfless disposition.

We do not adulate Ms Suchdev for the sake of it; for, Indian Newslink has been associated with her and her works longer than any other media can claim. However, the results of her endeavour need to be shared, not only for recording the depth of progress achieved in otherwise unchartered waters but also as an source of inpsiration for others who are keen to serve our communities.

Rising Family Harm

Family Harm, perpetrated by Family Violence is a social menace that is on the rise in the South Asian community in general and among people of Indian origin in particular over the past few years.

Ms Suchdev said that family violence remains a critical social issue for New Zealanders.

“Any development project involving upliftment or progress of the society should be inclusive and targeted at eradicating and creating awareness about the evils of family violence and the underlying damages it causes to everyone including the perpetrator.

Roopa Aur Charitable Trust has been trying to educate and create awareness amongst the South Asian Community for several years, aiming to eliminate physical, mental, psychological and sexual abuse from the core of the family system,” she said.

Successful Workshops

The Trust conducted its third workshop on ‘Investing in Aucklanders and Understanding Immigration Laws’ on October 30, 2017 in the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe.

A ‘Fusion Workshop,’ the event was held with the support of ‘Woman Care Trust’ and Auckland Council, whose research-based analysis was useful.

The workshop focused on family violence linked to immigration laws.

“It is trite knowledge that a spouse withdraws visa support leaving the partner to struggle with no means to start working and living independently after going through traumatic family violence while in relationship. In most cases, the partner does not lodge a formal complaint with the Police and hence Immigration New Zealand and the legal system are unaware of the abuses faced by victims. Our Trust has been providing support to many such victims,” she said.

This workshop was in line with the innovative changes proposed by the new Labour-led Coalition government through direct analysis of people’s difficulties and requirements.

Care for the Community

Although Ms Suchdev established Roopa Aur Aap Charitable Trust in 2008, her involvement in social work and community welfare dates back by 13 years, which included hands-on work with community groups and individuals through projects and through her ‘Roopa Aur Aap’ television programme.

“Social problems have a brighter chance of resolution through societal awareness.  Community involvement often decreases the chances of complex issues like family violence and elder abuse which encompasses critical factors like economic, psychological and physiological concerns of the abused and the offender. The South Asian Community of Auckland is also deeply engrossed with these complex social problems,” she said.

Drain the Brain

Elder members of the South Asian community had an opportunity to provide their experience and perspective on ‘Elder Abuse’ at the Fourth and Final Workshop of the Trust for 2017. Held at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall on Saturday, November 11, 2017, ‘Drain the Brain,’ as it was called, cited true case studies.

More than 150 men and women attended the interactive workshop, which tested their knowledge and awareness on the way in which our elders are abused.

Ms Suchdev is a tireless worker who believes that abuse in any form is harmful to the community and the society and hence must be eliminated from its roots.

“Roopa Aur Aap Charitable Trust,’ will continue its awareness and educative workshops with various other free support services for family violence-related victims, which includes counselling and family advocacy services,” she said.

Family harm creates a slur on the society and the country. Its containment is the sacred duty of every individual.


Photo :

  1. Roopa Suchdev speaking at the Papatoetoe Workshop on Immigration Laws
  2. Women discussing family violence issues at the Papatoetoe Workshop
  3. Roopa Suchdev and Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust Executive Committee Member Rani Nalam at the ‘Elder Abuse’ Workshop held at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall

(Pictures supplied)

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