One Year As A Sakhi Intern

By Tara Sarath

When I was little, my father used to put me to sleep literally by reading me Old World fairytales. The (male) hero only had a year and a day to find the most amazing bauble in the whole world and in turn would win the coveted (female) prize. I have been serving as an intern, in various capacities, at Sakhi for South Asian Women for a year and a day and let me inform you:  the heroes of this story are all women.

Not that all our heroes being women is necessarily the absolute ideal scenario. After all, the long term goal of Sakhi is to end domestic violence, and that means understanding domestic violence outside of a gendered context. I still remember my volunteer training (which is happening again in early June 2010 so sign up now or regret it for another 365 days!) when we had a long grueling discussion about the gendered construct of violence. “He/she hit him/her;” no matter which way you put that sentence together, the action (and its proof) are the same. Violence after all comes in many forms, and anyone who watches television knows the infinite variations of injury that we can inflict on each other. I can only admire and respect all of Sakhi’s members who preserve and bring the message of ending domestic violence out to the community.

It was a strange, interesting, and occasionally difficult time to work at Sakhi. From May to May the organization has transformed. No qualitative assessments here- I can only look at and measure the change in the organization against the change in myself and be appreciative of the distance that I have come. Unlike many of my fellow interns, my post-education vision was one of poverty and starvation underneath the Manhattan Bridge overpass. Fortunately I have since discovered another idea, and even more fortunately it is a better idea- because it involves Sakhi.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to finish our quests, prize in hand, after a year and a day. Sometimes we must follow our vision, and I hope to be a part of Sakhi in the years to come.