K.C. first learned about Sakhi in 2005 after moving to the United States and researching volunteer opportunities. Having studied social work in India, she sought an organization where her expertise and passion could be most useful.
For K.C., Sakhi offered the chance to pursue issues of gender based violence and immigrant rights, which were always areas she strongly cared about. “Being an immigrant myself has inspired me to get involved,” she states. However, at the same time, she began graduate school and reluctantly postponed her involvement with Sakhi proclaiming, “I knew that I could make the changes I wanted once I went through professional training.”
In 2007, after receiving her graduate degree, K.C. reconnected with Sakhi and joined the staff as a Domestic Violence program advocate. Her work focused mostly on Direct Services assuming such responsibilities as helpline crisis intervention, case management, outreach and policy work and volunteer/advocate training.
As an immigrant, K.C. has faced many difficulties throughout her career and some that have come with her role as a South Asian social worker. Her personal connection helps her remain focused on her goals: she says, “social work comes with different perceptions, which have been challenging and rewarding. The challenges come with starting conversations with communities, friends and families. There is a resistance that is often about the nature of the work and the kind of challenges that were [overcome] become rewarding when you make a difference in someone’s life”.
This October K.C. took the knowledge and talents developed at Sakhi to the New York Asian Women’s Center. The NYAWC offers services that are similar to those of Sakhi but to a larger, more diverse demographic. Here she undertakes new responsibilities more specific to her training as a social worker as well as her direct services management experience.
Reflecting on her time with Sakhi, K.C. affirms “being able to do a lot of very different things at the same time was one of the main things that I learned. [With Sakhi] I had to wear a lot of hats. Casework and crisis intervention abilities were what I took away from Sakhi…and [I] have been able to build upon these skills. [Though] the work that is being done now is more administrative, [I] can still incorporate what I have learned from Sakhi.”
Working with Sakhi and NYAWC has given K.C. the chance to fulfill her dream in making a difference. Her experiences as an immigrant and as a South Asian woman have made the journey one that is personal. Since there are so many unique cultural components that are shared within South Asian populations, her experiences, as she mentions have also been about “learning to appreciate and acknowledge a greater range [of people while] appreciating [their] commonalities of culture.” This recognition has enabled her to continue in this field.
We wish K.C. the best in her new position and know that our partnership will continue as we work towards a common goal of eradicating DV in our communities.