Unsung Hero award

Casa de Esperanza counselor and victim advocate Ranjeeta Pabla and her 3-year-old daughter, Harnoor, on March 20. Pabla will be recognized with the Women’s Empowerment Unsung Hero award at an upcoming ceremony, a national award presented to a woman who has made significant contributions to empowering, advancing, advocating and supporting women and the community around her.

She’s only been working as a victim advocate and counselor for Casa de Esperanza since June 2019, but she’s already had a significant impact on her clients and the Yuba-Sutter community.

So much so that Ranjeeta Pabla is set to be recognized as the Unsung Hero award recipient at the fourth annual Women Empowerment Awards Gala 2020 put on by Bollywood Events, a national award given to a woman who has made significant contributions to empowering, advancing, advocating and supporting women and the community around her. 

“I’m very thankful for the recognition,” Pabla said. “I got into this because I wanted everyone to know that even though it can be difficult juggling everything as a single mom, nothing should hold you back. I try to tell other women my story and share my experiences, that you don’t need a man. You can do anything you want on your own.”

Casa de Esperanza provides services and shelter to victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic violence from around the Yuba-Sutter-Colusa area, as well as Beale Air Force Base.

Pabla moved to the area from India in 2003. Before joining the team at Casa last year, she was working in data entry. Having past experiences receiving services and help as a victim herself, there came a point where she felt a calling to do for others what had been done for her.

“We have a lot of victims in our community that are also undocumented, so I wanted to work with those victims as well,” Pabla said, who is fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi, among others. “Being a victim, I wanted my community to know that you can talk to someone and express your feelings. You don’t always have to hide it. It’s important to understand and overcome those emotions.” 

Pabla credited her parents for being role models in her life, as well as Casa de Esperanza Executive Director Marsha Krouse-Taylor for helping her grow into who she is today. 

“I think that the most amazing thing about Ranjeeta is her strong commitment to ending domestic violence and to her community – she sees them completely and totally intertwined,” Krouse-Taylor said. “Besides that, she is one of the most cheerful people I’ve ever met in my life. Whatever is going on, she always has a smile and has an optimistic way of looking at things. In our field, we need that in every opportunity we can get.” 

Pabla was set to receive the award this weekend, but the ceremony was postponed until further notice due to the ongoing public health situation. Still, she said, she was just happy for the recognition.

The message she hopes her award drives home is that there are resources out there available for victims of abuse. She said no one should fear seeking assistance and that sharing with others that have gone through similar trauma is an important asset to have for a small community like the Yuba-Sutter area.

“We can help educate and get someone back on track. We want them to know that if we can do it, they can too,” Pabla said. “You can be the woman you want to be. Being a victim doesn’t need to hold you back. You can break all those cycles and prove to yourself that you can do it.”

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