Sukhvinder Kaur – Director/Trustee
Sukhvinder Kaur was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer at the age of 11 and has faced an ongoing battle with this illness ever since. When not battling with the downtime of ongoing treatment, she prides herself in being a stay-at-home mum and has been active in the voluntary sector as former Director of Operations and spokesperson for a respected human rights charity, Sikh Relief. She also served on a national Sikh Body from 2015 - 2018. Here she was one of only three women and encouraged Sikh faith institutions to recognise their duties and obligations towards safeguarding. When she realised this was falling on deaf ears, she then understood the patriarchal nature of those leading faith based institutions, where women are used for photo opportunities to advertise gender balance but their needs and concerns were rarely prioritised.
Sukhi is passionate about raising awareness of child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse within the Sikh and wider BAME community. She has seen a sharp rise in faith based sexual abuse in places of worship & faith settings and has worked tirelessly to shine a spotlight on this issue.
Sukhi is also a founding member of a Sikh/Muslim interfaith group “Same Difference” that is looking to tackle contentious issues between the two groups including mis-leading narratives about Sikh women and girls being disproportionately targeted by Muslim grooming gangs. The group has gone from strength to strength and hosts monthly gatherings to discuss community cohesion and all matters that can bring these two groups together.
Regarding the formation of Sikh Women’s Aid, Sukhvinder said, “I am humbled and honoured to be a founding member and trustee of Sikh Women’s Aid. Faith is very important to me, and guides all that I do. Our rich history pays homage to the strength, valour and courage of Sikh Women, from Bebe Nanaki, the sister of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, to Mai Bhago, the formidable Warrior Woman who was as fierce as her male counterparts on the battlefield during the times of the Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh Ji. I have witnessed for too long, the diminishing spirit of many Sikh women due to decades of oppressive practices that use culture and shame to suppress them. This type of toxic behaviour is not in line with the Sikh Faith nor should it ever been accepted as such.
So, it is in that spirit that our team plants the seed of Sikh Women’s Aid.
Mandeep Kaur Sungu – Director/Trustee
Mandeep Kaur Sungu, or “Minu” as she is affectionately known as by those close to her, is a British born Panjabi Sikh businesswoman who currently resides with her family in the heart of the West Midlands. She is a mum of four, three of whom are triplets! She has a keen interest in politics and is an unapologetic feminist and served as a director and trustee of a prominent Sikh and Punjabi domestic violence charity. She has organised several fundraisers and social events celebrating the achievements of Sikh and South Asian women.
Minu is a savvy businesswoman who not only runs a successful printing and graphic design business but is also the owner and head chef at Panjabi Rasoi; a bustling catering service and fusion café inspired by Minu’s love of traditional Indian street food and fusion style cuisine.
Minu spoke about the formation of Sikh Women’s Aid: “My most prized and cherished role in life is that of a mother to my four children, three of whom are daughters. I am passionate about women knowing that if things are bad, there is help available out there. I want our daughters to grow up knowing that our community is doing more listening to and less talking down to women about their needs.
I want our daughters to feel safe and when things do not go to plan, they are able to seek support and justice without shame, fear, or prejudice. Sikh Women’s Aid will be a champion for women and I am honoured to have set this up alongside a group of professional, trained and competent women”.