Multicultural White Ribbon Dinner – A Resounding Success!

White Ribbon Ambassadors Vishal Rishi, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo and Raj Bedi

White Ribbon Ambassador Vishal Rishi, who is director of The Asian Network – a pan-Asian organization dedicated to ensuring people of Asian background enjoy optimal quality of life and well-being in New Zealand, worked with two other organisations Sahaayta and Shanti Niwas to organize a White Ribbon dinner in Auckland last November to raise awareness around family violence within Asian communities. He noted “people still do not accept that this is very much present in their communities. Family harm has always been a taboo in ethnic communities, so awareness is lacking in our South Asian community.”

While the event highlighted the scale of violence towards women the organisers also sought to provide advice about what to do to prevent violence and how to deal with issues that arise. Two other White Ribbon Ambassadors also took part, Raj Bedi led the group in making the White Ribbon pledge and Inspector Rakesh Naidoo of the New Zealand Police spoke about the prevalence of family violence and urged community leaders to stand up and address the issue. Sr Constable Mandeep Kaur and Dr Ashraf Choudhry also spoke to encourage attendees to speak out and come for advice and assistance when needed. The organisers also chose to honour two members of the local community Barrister Arunjeev Singh and Mr Karnail Singh for their work keeping the community safe and nurturing communities.
The event was a huge success with about 240 people in attendance. We know it can be challenging to get community buy in, especially for ticketed events like this and asked Vishal for any advice he could share with others who may want to organize big community events. He commented “You need to try to include multiple grassroot communities, make it local and relevant to the audience.” We would like to thank all the individuals and organizations involved for the time and energy they put into organizing the event which has made so many people in the community aware of the issues we face and steps they can take to prevent violence.
Vishal became a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2018 and has been a great asset to the team, representing White Ribbon at local events and assisting with the campaign advertisements we produced in 2018 in other languages. When asked about his reasons for becoming an Ambassador he remarked: “I put my hand up for this noble cause because I used to feel really bad & helpless when I used to hear about any incident of domestic violence. Not only physical abuse but how husbands/partners treat their better halves. In fact, I hear stories of elder abuse every day. All this made me really upset and frustrated as I work in the public health sector and talk about people’s health & well-being all the time but still, I was unable to help the families who are going through such tough times due to abuse in their families. All this has encouraged me to stand up and stand against violence against women & children”.

If you would like to join the White Ribbon Ambassador team and help to prevent violence in your community find out more here or write to us at

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