Ranjna Patel couldn’t stop the tears at the official opening of Gandhi Nivas, the third early intervention centre for men involved in domestic violence.
With a good representation from the police and ACC at the event, the third family violence facility for men was recently opened by Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Associate Minister of Health.
The minister acknowledged the work that Gandhi Nivas does with timely intervention to bring about positive changes to the perpetrators of family harm.
“I understand it was established to be of service primarily to members of the Indian community but has since grown to cater to all other communities including Maori and Pasifica,” she said.
The facility in Papakura has been dedicated to the memory of the late Vivek Varma, husband of Sucharita Varma who is a counsellor and support manager of counselling centre `Sahaayta’, and passionate about the initiative to reduce family harm and violence.
Acknowledging his unstinting support to Gandhi Nivas, a plaque was unveiled in Mr Varma’s memory. He passed away suddenly on July 3, leaving behind a wife and two sons. Mr Varma was also a much loved member of the Police.
Brainchild of Farm Cove resident Ranjna Patel, Gandhi Nivas is a partnership between Serenity Foundation, Sahaayta Counselling and NZ Police.
Counties Manukau District Commander, Superintendent Jill Rogers was there to support the opening of the home for men who are referred there by police for free counselling and emergency housing.
She said that the ability of police in Auckland to refer people to Gandhi Nivas has “made colleagues across the country jealous”.
The underlining of philosophy of Gandhi Nivas is don’t take the women and children out of the home – put the man in a safe place instead, with wrap-around 24/7 services including counselling.
> (left to right) Counsellor Sucharita Varma, Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers and Senior Sergeant Sharon Price at the opening of the third intervention facility for men.So impressed was ACC with the initiative that they came on board with a grant two years ago. The economic cost associated with family violence is estimated to be between $4.1 and $7 billion per year, and rising.
The first Gandhi Nivas house opened in Otahuhu in 2014. The second house opened in Te Atatu in March 2018 and a third house was opened in September.
At the one-year celebration of Gandhi Nivas, Ranjna was awarded a New Zealand Police honour – the Challenge Coin for her path-breaking initiative. The coin is usually reserved for police staff.