He was nominated to become a White Ribbon Ambassador by the Mayor, as the president of the Rotary Club of Hutt River Valley; he’s a familiar face to many in Lower Hutt.
“The Mayor put me forward, he said, give me a reference and put yourself on the line, so I did.”
He’s attended multiple White Ribbon events and has hosted two – one at his work and another at the Rotary Club of Hutt River Valley. He’s currently in discussion with Rongotai College about the mentorship programme commencing in 2020 and when he speaks about White Ribbon values he openly discusses his opinion.
“These people are someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s family. It’s about your discipline. You can’t blame your decisions and choices on your upbringing.
“I speak to people, person to person; we discuss respect, personal skills, consent, rejection and social justice compared to criminal justice and what that means.”
Ambassadors are chosen for their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men, and to convey key messages directly to their own communities. Something that Raj freely does, at work, at his club and to me.
“It’s about maintaining respect, whether it’s earned or freely given, we are all constantly learning, but we make decisions on what we’re learning about. Your past doesn’t define you, your present does. And it’s never too late to make a change.”
Raj admitted to me that he hasn’t always been this way, something that he freely discussed with White Ribbon before becoming an ambassador.
“When I was younger I made decisions that I’m not proud of, but I have learned from. Everyone has disagreements, and now I walk away. Not from the relationship – but from the argument. The ability to walk away when things get hard takes courage. But it’s the right thing to do.”
“What I am proud of is my involvement in Rotary NZ, specifically my club. I am also proud of the marriage and love I share with my wife Leole Malama-Prasad who has also been very involved in community here in the Hutt as well as in Rotary. We are expecting our first child later this year and I hope to be a loving doting father who teaches my children to respect women, and to respect one another. We are proud to have taken the pledge together to stop violence towards women in our communities”
White Ribbon Campaign Trust is the Charity Partner for HighLight: Carnival of Lights 2019. All funds raised by HighLight and the events sponsors will be for the benefit of White Ribbon. For more information on how you can help, go to: whiteribbon.org.nz