On Oct. 30th, Sakhi hosted a fall party for survivors of domestic violence, their children, and Sakhi staff and volunteers in commemoration of two important community holidays, Eid and Diwali.
Sakhi staff and volunteers set up chairs and tables and huffed and puffed into dozens of balloons to prepare a welcoming environment for the evening’s guests.
As survivors started to trickle in, children excitedly played with balloons, crayons, coloring books and other activities as Desi music played in the background.
All told, 24 survivors attended the function, along with 35 children, and 15 Sakhi staff and volunteers.
Staff helped to set up dinner, which included an extensive array of Desi food. Many survivors brought their own dishes to share with others. As people lined up for seconds and thirds, it was clear that the food was a hit.
One Sakhi volunteer, Urmi Cholera, commented, “It was great to see such a huge turn-out, bringing all the survivors together and connecting. I saw a lot meet and exchange numbers. Also seeing all the kids play together was a treat.”
Direct Services Director Sandeep Kaur Bathala commented on the importance of holding events like these for survivors in the community. “The party draws in survivors who have recently reached out to Sakhi as well as those we’ve been working with for years. It’s inspring and empowering for survivors to meet others who have been with us for a longer time and think about where they might be in a number of years. It’s also good for those who have been with us for a number of years to be able to reflect back on how far they’ve come,” she added.
Survivors spoke with each other and to staff members throughout the evening, sharing laughs, hugs, and concerns.
As the evening came to a close, Sandeep cut and distributed cake to survivors and children in commemoration of another quarter of hard work at Sakhi.
Shortly before heading out for the night with their parents, children dutifully lined up to receive goody bags containing chocolates and candy that were generously prepared and donated by Sakhi’s Volunteer Coordination Intern Santushi Kuruppu.
Commenting on the large turnout and Sakhi’s future party planning, Economic Empowerment Coordinator Jyotswaroop Bawa said, “It’s nice to have the parties and see people enjoy socializing. I think we’ll need a bigger space for the next event, as more and more people are attending.”