Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust Inc, a non-profit organisation, has a proud history of working with socially isolated senior citizens of Indian and South Asian origin living in the Auckland region.
Initially, the culturally appropriate services for older people of diverse cultural background were initiated by Mrs. Indu Bajaj Q.S.M and M.S.W, an experienced social worker, in January 1994 under the umbrella of Methodist Mission Northern. At the time she came in contact with several older migrants of Indian descent who seemed to be facing difficulties in adjusting into New Zealand society due to barriers such as:
- Cultural shock
- Generational gaps
- Language and communication barriers
- Loneliness and social isolation
- Dependence on family support
- Emotional stress
- Child minding pressures
- Lack of knowledge of health and welfare system
- Lack of community links
- Transport and mobility issues
- Elder abuse and neglect
She felt there was a great need to establish services in order to provide guidance and assistance to older people so they could have a good quality of life. As we all know, added barriers of different languages and cultural backgrounds can create feelings of exclusion and isolation which in turn can lead to depression and mental health problems.
In November 1998, the trust was legally established under the name of Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust Incorporated and became financially independent in January 2003. The trust has been registered with the Charities Commission (CC26135) and for goods and services tax.