TarakĪ was founded by Shuranjeet Singh Takhar, a graduate student at the University of Oxford. After his personal experience with mental health difficulty as a student, he wanted to ensure that individuals and communities would have access to the necessary support systems to help them manage their mental health in a better, more efficient way.
What is TarakĪ ?
TarakĪ means being forward-facing, progressive, and looking to a better future. Through this movement, the Punjabi community can unify to combat the mental health difficulties presented to us both at an individual, and collective, level.
In its work, TarakĪ aims to strengthen and empower the Punjabi community, aligning various strands of mental health activism – awareness campaigns, educational courses, signposting services – to help shape a network of support systems to help those going through difficulty.
Why was TarakĪ started ?
TarakĪ was started because the way in which mental health is understood within the Punjabi community has created an atmosphere in which shame, fear, and silence dominate discussions.
Such negative assumptions have the impact of stigmatising mental health, silencing discussion, and casting aspersions which look to explain its occurrence through a limited framework.
We all know someone who has gone through mental health difficulty, whether that be ourselves, a family member, or a friend.
Due to the negativity and stigma associated with mental health, one may not look to the Punjabi community for effective systems of support, sometimes leaving the individual to try and cope themselves, to suffer in silence, unbeknown to those around them.
It is this culture that TarakĪ hopes to change and shape.
TarakĪ wants to bring forward discussion about mental health to break down the negative stereotypes and assumptions associated with it. From this, we can begin to tackle mental health difficulties more effectively within the community. Moving forward, it is imperative that the Punjabi community work together to instigate real change in how mental health is understood and treated, much to the benefit of individuals, families, and friends.