Topic: Davinder Kaur Ralm (Khalsa)

Topic type:

A grandmother, a Hamilton Community Leader and a JP.

Davinder Kaur Ralm is mostly lovingly known as "Aunty  Khalsa". Davinder  considers herself as a people's person. She is passionate about helping people. She has come a long way from first coming to New Zealand in 1959, as a young bride and mother to be. She has been a farmer's wife, a mother, a grandmother  and a Community Leader, tirelessly  helping the Sikh and Indian  and other migrant community . She has gone on  to become a JP and an executive member of several community  and international organisations like Global Indian Women's Association, NZ and one of the founder members of Ethnic Women's Center of Hamilton.


    Early years

Early yearsLife however was quite challenging for Davinder when she first came to Rukuhia in Waikato, at a tender age of 16, married to Gordon Ralm, a farmer in 1959. She became a part of the large extended Ralm family. This was quite difficult for her to adjust coming straight from being a college girl from a close knit and loving family of 4 brothers and 3 sisters from the city of Ludhiana, Punjab, India. Davinder's father was a politician, MBE (Member of  Bristish Empire) and both her brothers were diplomats. Davinder's younger brother was in fact the Indian High Commisioner posted in Wellington, New Zealand.

Her first impression of New Zealand: "I found the country green and beautiful". Davinder moved to Te Awamutu when her husband found a job in the NZ Dairy Company and bought her first home. Her 4 children were born right here in Waikato Hospital between 1960 and 1979. She moved back to Hamilton in 1990.

Community work

During this time Davinder started going to the Ladies evening at the Brethren Chapel, where she started meeting new people and helping and supporting the ladies coming there with family problems. She also became a member of the Sikh Society of Hamilton and the Country Section of New Zealand Indian Association. She presently became the Vice President for both the organisations.

Davinder's challenging time was when her husband was seriously ill for 3 years and she looked after him. Her husband passed away in 1996. She says "I was very depressed and lost, they were my darkest days".

But that did not stop Davinder; she started helping her community members with immigration matters. Davinder also organised functions for the Sikh community and Country section of the Indian Association such as the Indian Independence day and welcoming Indian diplomats to New Zealand.

Becoming JP
"I was nominated by the then Mayor of Hamilton and other New Zealand Immigration officials, with whom I was working closely to support my community with immigration matters ". Davinder became Ja P on 1st of May 1998.

Other Community work

Davinder continues to support women especially ethnic women by becoming one of the founder members of Shama - the Hamilton Ethnic Women's Association. She actively participates in its day to day activities, such as supporting immigrant ethnic women to start their lives in Hamilton, dealing with domestic violence and providing English and cooking lessons. She also organises day trips for senior ethnic women and runs holiday programmes to look after the children of working mothers. Davinder is also a trained health educator assisting and promoting breast cancer and cervical screening.

Challenges
Davinder has faced plenty of challenges all her life, especially because she was a woman and worked mainly with the Indian and Sikh communities, who find it difficult to accept a woman as their equal or accept that an Indian women could do a better job than them. Davinder says "I come from a political family , my father and brothers were politician and diplomats. I always found it easy to deal with bureaucracy and official processes to be able assist my community in filing for their immigration papers or contacting the immigration officials on their behalf, if there was a problem."

Presently

Davinder says "I enjoy the company of my four grandchildren. I feel very content that I could help people all my life and will continue doing so. Everyday has been worth it ".

 Listen to Davinder speak about her life and passion

Davinder as part of  Indian Cultural Society Waikato Commitee in 2010

Indian Cultural Society Waikato function 7 2010.JPG. Indian Cultural Society Waikato Inc Committe.

 

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Davinder Kaur Ralm (Khalsa)


First Names:Davinder
Last Name:Khalsa
Place of Birth:Punjab, India
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Davinder Kaur Ralm (Khalsa) by Anita is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License