Activity Volunteers

Jyoti Parashar
Chairperson, Education and Religious Activities

I immigrated to New Zealand in 2004 with my family. I have a background in teaching and fashion designing. Being community-oriented, I am currently working as a Programme Coordinator at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, Onehunga Auckland. I run positive ageing day programs and various other projects to empower senior citizens of South Asian community. It also includes engaging them in activities that encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle. Before joining Shanti Niwas, I worked for Diabetes Auckland as a Customer Services Coordinator, and for Migrant Support Services as a Program Coordinator for 3 years. I have recently completed Diploma in Diversional Therapy for the benefit of the senior citizens. I am currently Vice President of the executive committee and the Chairperson of the Education Committee, at Bharatiya Mandir. Currently I am in charge of BalVikas (children development) classes which is mainly focus on teaching Indian languages like Gujarati, Hindi, and Telugu, Religion, Classical music, Art and craft, Cultural Dance, preparing for the performance in Janmashtami and other celebrations.

Indira Bhandari
Education and Religious Activities

I immigrated to New Zealand in 2004 with my family. I have a background in teaching and fashion designing. Being community-oriented, I am currently working as a Programme Coordinator at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, Onehunga Auckland. I run positive ageing day programs and various other projects to empower senior citizens of South Asian community. It also includes engaging them in activities that encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle. Before joining Shanti Niwas, I worked for Diabetes Auckland as a Customer Services Coordinator, and for Migrant Support Services as a Program Coordinator for 3 years. I have recently completed Diploma in Diversional Therapy for the benefit of the senior citizens. I am currently Vice President of the executive committee and the Chairperson of the Education Committee, at Bharatiya Mandir. Currently I am in charge of BalVikas (children development) classes which is mainly focus on teaching Indian languages like Gujarati, Hindi, and Telugu, Religion, Classical music, Art and craft, Cultural Dance, preparing for the performance in Janmashtami and other celebrations.

Sonu Dutt
Volunteer Hindi Teacher

I have done my Masters in Commerce.Currently I am pursuing to be Early Childhood Educator. Hindi language is one of the most spoken language in the world. I believe that children from south Asian community should learn Hindi as it keeps them connected to their country and their roots. As we all know “When roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind”, Children with strong cultural background will rise high in life. I enjoy teaching the children in BalVikas because being with kids have always been my passion. I feel so proud when I see despite of being away from their country children don’t only speak but can also read and write Hindi. My vision for BalVikas classes is to keep children connected to their culture.

Asha Srivastava
Volunteer Religious Teacher

I am a qualified teacher holding a Bachelor in Education (B.Ed) and Master in Science (M.Sc) degree majoring in Micro Biology. I am currently managing a SME business and trying to contribute to the economy. I love being around Kids, imparting Knowledge and seeing them grow as successful individuals. I believe that a migrant child of every ethnicity should maintain allegiance with their cultural roots and sovereign at the same time. When an individual is faced with tough questions in life, it is their deep-rooted beliefs and identity that guides them forward. I am inspired to teach religion to children by my generations of family history in their cultural believes and connection with the Supreme Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was requested by the creator and destroyer to provide human life with its principles. It is when he created Bhagvad Gita. It is with this belief in our Vedas and religion that I find religion as most important part of our identity in society. It acts as an anchor throughout our lives towards positive human values. I consider that my role as a religious teacher contributes towards long term spiritual development of a child by introducing them to such sources of human wisdom at the right age. I enjoy reading Hindu Scriptures to continuously have connection and understanding of religion. I enjoy being with children and read them shlokas in Sanskrit and then through short and simple mythology based narrations I try to make them understand the meaning behind the shlokas. Sanskrit is one of the oldest known language, I try to familiarise children with it through the narrations and their translation. My vision for Bal Vikas Classes is that it should lead by example to every other cultural and religious school of learning where children can get the right pathway to connect with the wealth of wisdom that their culture can offer to them and from them to the next generation.

Kalpana Patel
Volunteer Gujarati Teacher

I am born in a Gujarat state and have ingrained values of being connected with the family. I am holding a Bachelors in Commerce degree and am Early Childhood Education level -5 qualified. I currently work for Randstad education agency, in a day care centre. I immigrated to New Zealand several years ago and made this country home away from home like many of us. However, I strongly believe that it is important for the new generation to stay connected with their mother tongue. Sometime in 2008, during a normal conversation with some elderly people at the Bharatiya temple, I got an idea that these elderly grandparents are unable to communicate heart to heart with their grandchildren due to the language barrier. This inspired me to teach Gujarati to all the children whose mother tongue is Gujarati. It gives me immense pleasure when I am able to teach speaking and writing Gujarati to the young Gujarati Kiwis.

Dr Vinay Karanam
Volunteer IT Services

Dr Vinay Karanam has numerous advanced educational qualifications and two doctorates in engineering and management. For the last four years in New Zealand he has promoted digital education especially amongst older people from ethnic communities. Recently he has reviewed and updated numerous websites and social media platforms for multicultural organisations.​ 

He is founder and CTO of Matakite Online Trust of New Zealand (https://matakitetrustnz.org), a registered charity with a vision to help communities, charities and nonprofits to be digitally transformed. A single stop complete digital solutions tailored for nonprofits.

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