Aarohan Convenes South Asian Groups

Sakhi staff attended the Aarohan 2008 conference against domestic violence, which brings together South Asian Women’s Organizations from across the country to discuss tactics, strategies, and solutions to ending violence against women.

Domestic Violence Program Advocate Kajori Chaudhuri and Communications Coordinator Mohammad Levesque-Alam delivered two presentations on Sept. 20th about Sakhi’s ongoing Court Interpreters Project, an endeavor aimed at ensuring equal access to justice for immigrants with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

They were joined by Shelly Agarwala, an attorney with Safe Horizon, in explaining the origins, projects, and successful impact of CIP and the broader coalition, which Sakhi co-chairs, called Justice Speaks: Initiative to Ensure Language Access.

The fourth panelist for the presentation was Cannon Han, of the The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, who framed the reasons better-trained interpreters are needed in the court system.

“It was great to speak to those from other agencies and learn about their experiences as it relates to language access, as well as other issues,” Shelly said. “I look forward to working with some of these agencies in the future.”

Saswati Sarkar, an event organizer with Manavi, commented, “[O]ur participants indicate that your sessions were extremely interesting and well received…[W]e will have increasing interest and participation from SAWOs [South Asian Women’s Organizations] and activists in advocating for the issue you upheld at your sessions.”

Sakhi Direct Services Advocate Fatma Zahra also delivered a presentation in a separate session on the importance and relevance of working with religious leaders and institutions to foster social change.

She spoke about Sakhi’s Faith-Based Initiative, an ongoing program now focused on Richmond Hill, Queens. Sakhi has sponsored a series of discussions among survivors about their experience with faith and religious leaders.

The two-day conference took place in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and was sponsored by Manavi.