Carrying on its strong and innovative tradition of effectively working to end domestic violence, Sakhi for South Asian Women made great strides in its program areas in 2008. Some of Sakhi’s key successes include:
- Developing a new mission statement and our first 3-year strategic plan;
- Responding to our highest volume of new requests for assistance ever, 731;
- Producing a groundbreaking report on the first national survey of court interpreters;
- Scaling up our survivor grants for economic empowerment to self-sufficiency by 50% and offering discretionary funding to alleviate barriers such as childcare and transportations costs. Since 2003 Sakhi has disseminated 45 grants to 30 individuals. 12 of these survivors have completed programs and 14 are employed;
- Opening our first computer lab for survivors and providing 75 hours of computer training via one-to-one assistance and group workshops;
- Beginning direct services and support groups based in Richmond Hill, Queens to respond to an underserved community;
- Being featured as experts in 36 presentations at venues including the American Public Health Association Annual Conference and the National Legal Aid & Public Defenders Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. ;
- Incorporating 70 volunteers and interns into our program activities for a total contribution of more than 1 year and 7 months in donated time and active community engagement in our work to end violence; and,
- Serving an average of more than 17,000 unique users to our website each month.
Through its work, Sakhi makes a difference in individual lives and in our community. In both arenas — individual and community transformation — success can be hard to measure. In fact, for some women experiencing abuse, picking up the phone to make that first call for help after enduring years of violence is a success. Through the information below, Sakhi shares more of our achievements in fulfilling our mission to support individual women and enable community and institutional change over the years.
Due to Sakhi’s far-reaching community engagement efforts over the last few years and enhancement of direct services programming and staffing, we have experienced a remarkable increase in new requests for help. In just six years, the number of requests for assistance has nearly tripled.
Number of Requests for Assistance
Received by Sakhi for South Asian Women in 2001 – 2008
Sakhi continued its remarkable success with individuals in 2007. In that year in the Domestic Violence Program, Sakhi:
- Responded to 727 new calls for help and worked with an active caseload of 50 to 60 survivors per month.
- Facilitated 10 support group workshops focusing on critical areas like anger management, loneliness, dependency, boundaries, and healthy relationships.
In the 2006/2007 fiscal year, Sakhi provided the women we serve with the following free and confidential services:
- 11 support group sessions focusing on various topics including anger management, healthy relationships, loneliness, dependency and boundaries; and,
- Each month, approximately, we provided – translation or interpretation services 100 times; health, housing, legal, and/or public benefits referrals and resources 65 times, 45-50 women with ongoing emotional support and services, and 5 women with court accompaniments.
Sakhi continued its remarkable success with community and institutional change in 2007. In that year in the Community Engagement and Media Program, Sakhi:
- Featured as experts in 48 presentations, including a panel hosted by Dan Rather titled, “Between Two Worlds: Domestic Violence, Immigration, and Human Rights” and four sessions at the National Network to End Domestic Violence conference. Furthermore, presented materials in 23 awareness and tabling events.
- Enabled the exhibit Redrawing Resistance, displayed at the Queens Museum of Art, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the University of Vermont. One survivor with Sakhi, Nasima, reflected, “After twenty years in an abusive relationship, I did not want to think about my past. But when I was making these paintings and drawings, the colors became my emotions and I could spread them on the page any way I wanted. Sakhi has been the rudder of mine and my family’s ship, and I have learned that I can overcome anything.”
- Held two focus groups with survivors to collect data on their experiences with religion and spirituality while confronting domestic violence. No such data collection project with South Asian survivors has ever been undertaken.
- Mobilized the landmark New York State Office of Court Administration court rule in October that obligates courts ensure an interpreter in all civil and criminal cases when a party is not proficient in English.
In 2006/2007, Sakhi strengthened its relationships with key community organizations that will help us deepen our impact within the South Asian community.
- Our leading community partners include Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Breakthrough, Break the Cycle, CONNECT, Men Can Stop Rape, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Safe Horizon, Sanctuary for Families, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), and The Sikh Coalition;
- In 2006/2007 alone, Sakhi organized or participated in more than 146 community outreach and partnership-building events. We estimate that through these events, Sakhi has raised the awareness of more than 2,500 community members in the New York metropolitan area;
- In 2006, Sakhi launched its Communities Take Charge campaign in Richmond Hill, Queens, with a mela, or street festival. Over 750 community members attended and about 35 community-based organization participated. Sakhi continues to form partnerships with the community-led organizations, faith-based institutions, and key leaders in Richmond Hill;
- Sakhi continues to publish its redesigned newsmagazine, Voices of Sakhi, which features a new format, focus, and feel. Now called Community Bol, the semi-annual newsletter is designed to be interactive, asking for readers to write and send in their thoughts and ideas on each issue’s subject matter. Approximately 3,000 individuals receive the publication by mail, while many more receive it through circulation at outreach events;
- In 2007, Sakhi received commendation for its innovative use of media for education and advocacy in SAALT’s community report “ .” Read about Sakhi on page 14 of the report.
- In the last year, Sakhi was featured or mentioned in at least 14 articles within the following publications: BBC Online, City Limits, DAWN, Desi Talk, India Abroad, News India Times, Newsday, Bibi Magazine, and South Asian Insider; and,
- Sakhi was nominated for 6 community service awards over the last year, 5 of which it won. The awards included: The American Immigration Law Foundation’s Community Service Award; The Distinguished Asian American Award for Outstanding Achievements, Leadership,and Excellence in Community Service (presented by the New Jersey General Assembly and the Asian American Heritage Council); The Outstanding Community Organization South Asian Media Award presented at the first-ever Desiclub.com awards ceremony; the Taraknath Das Foundation Award; and, * Womyn Warrior Award presented to Bix Gabriel, Sakhi’s former Community Outreach and Media Coordinator, at the Casa Atabex Ache 3rd Annual Warrior Womyn Celebration Gala.
Sakhi continued its remarkable success with individuals in 2007. In that year in the Economic Empowerment Program, Sakhi:
- Coordinated five financial literacy workshops on life insurance and savings and five health workshops to inform women of health insurance options and resources.
- Organized two computer training series, each comprising at least four classes and spanning eighteen hours, to improve women’s confidence and abilities with computer software. “I couldn’t have asked for any more,” one survivor said. “I have improved my skills and I have cleared all my doubts I had in my mind.”
Designed to encourage the economic freedom and empowerment of the women we work with, in 2006/2007 the EE program provided:
- 10 workshops focusing on a range of topics including computer literacy, tax credits, identity theft, fraud and credit;
- 11 grants for $12,649 through the Swarna Chalasani Economic Empowerment Fund – for survivors pursuing opportunities such as undergraduate programs in Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science and Chemistry, Social Work classes, a Master’s level class in Teaching, a Teacher’s Certification exam fee, beauty school training fees, business skills training, and physician’s assistant certification fees.
WHI is designed to help educate the women we work with and health professionals on the health needs and risks of domestic violence survivors. Over the years, Sakhi has provided:
- workshops that focused on a variety of health issues including sexual health, cancer awareness and prevention, healthy living techniques, self-defense strategies, stress-reducing methods, and fitness planning; and,
- Access to low–cost or free health consultations or exams through our Health Provider Network (HPN), which consists of a core group of South Asian health providers and physicians.