Sakhi recently hosted its annual picnic, as survivors, staff members, interns, and volunteers all joined together to enjoy the summer sun, pizzas and pakoras, sweets and treats, and one another’s company.
Transportation glitches early in the afternoon did not prevent Sakhis from coming out for the event to take advantage of clear skies and warm temperatures, as more than 75 adults and children attended.
“”Everyone seemed to be having a great time enjoying the food, the games and the lovely day in the park,” said Meena Jagannath, a Policy and Direct Services Intern. “Though there was an electric failure in most of the trains coming in from Queens, many survivors and volunteers managed to make it to the picnic all the same,” she added.
Mekha Rajan, Sakhi’s other Direct Services Intern, said she was inspired by the spirit of solidarity at the event. “It was moving to see so many South Asians, women, children, survivors, supporters alike, coming together for a common cause and for the sole purpose of connecting, supporting and enjoying each other,” she said.
Pizzas with a panoply of toppings were served for lunch, along with pakoras generously donated by the Sikh Cultural Society of New York, located in Richmond Hill. Cupcakes, ice cream, brownies, and other delicious snacks and treats were also available.
Assisted by all the staff and a dozen volunteers, children enjoyed a variety of activities such as Frisbee, badminton, football, limbo, and face-painting.
Sakhi volunteer Shivani Kalia summed up an attitude expressed by many volunteers that day, saying, “I got to see how real and strong women were…that a day outside in the beautiful weather with their kids, and other women who share a similar lifestyle was a liberating experience.”
Farzana Rahman, a Development Intern attending her first picnic, noted that survivors transcended differences in language to communicate and share a good time. “I was really touched by how well these women communicated with each other no matter if they had language barriers, and how some of them were so delighted to see their friends they hadn’t been in contact with for whatever reason. I think that is something that really sticks out to me from the event,” she said.
It is this aspect of community-building that is truly at the heart of the picnics, said Kajori Chaudhuri, one of Sakhi’s Domestic Violence Program Advocates. “It’s a great opportunity for women who have made great strides to speak with women who are currently in a dilemma. It’s a place where women can support each other,” she observed.
Succinctly summing up the spirit of the event, Volunteer Coordination Intern Tara Sarath commented, “When no cake is left at the end of the day, you know it’s been a good day.”