Kiwi Indian businesswoman and community leader Ranjna Patel has been awarded ‘Community Hero’ at the 2020 Women of Influence Award for her work as domestic violence campaigner. 

Ranjna Patel, a third-generation Kiwi Indian has a long list of awards and achievements and has headed the community-based organisation ‘Gandhi Nivas’ to help support Kiwis victims of domestic violence and provide emergency housing and counselling to people accused of family harm. 

Ranjna Patel, Community Hero 2020 Women of Influence Award

Gandhi Nivas was initially set up with the aim to address family violence in the Indian and Fiji Indian community in 2014 Ranjna Patel in partnership with New Zealand, and its first house to accommodate the perpetrators for rehabilitation was established in Otahuhu.

Since then, the operations of Gandhi Nivas has grown to three houses in Auckland now, Te Atatu and Papakura providing 24/7 temporary accommodation, early intervention and counselling services. 

A five-year case study by Massey University conducted on Gandhi Nivas’ programmes revealed that it reduced family harm or domestic violence and reoffending by 60 per cent. 

Ranjna Patel, Community Hero 2020 Women of Influence Award

The results of the study, which were presented at Parliament House in Wellington in July this year found that by working directly with perpetrators of family violence, Gandhi Nivas was able to prevent almost 60% of the men who have taken part in the programme from reoffending.

Since the announcement earlier this week, Patel has been flooded with a number of congratulatory messages on social media. 

One of such messages was from the former National List MP Kanwaljit Bakshi that read, “Congratulations Ranjna Patel on being wining Community Hero’s Award at Women of Influence NZ awards last night. We are proud of your work and thanks to Dr Kanti Patel for his support.”

Earlier in 2017, Ranjna Patel was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her service to the Indian community in New Zealand. 

The Women of Influence Awards was jointly presented by Westpac NZ and Stuff, and it received 339 nominations across ten categories this year. 

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