An Invitation to Our Supporters: Celebrating Good Times: Sakhi’s 21st Birthday

Sakhi’s Gala Event Is on Friday, October 1, 2010,  7 PM

by Tara Sarath

The 2010 Gala is a celebration of our 21 years of work to bring an end to violence against women.  The celebration will take place at Cipriani Wall Street with cocktails, dinner, and dancing as well as musical performances by Hidayat Khan and Siddhartha Khosla, guest appearance by Aasif Mandvi and a silent and live auction conducted by Sandhya Jain Patel of Christie’s.  The celebration will honor Radhika Coomaraswamy, First United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and current UN SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict. We would love to have our strong community of supporters join us to celebrate our vision for the future.

The theme of the 2010 gala is about Sakhi “Blossoming Into a New Decade” by supporting women’s leadership and decision-making power. Our vision for our future is to expand our Economic Empowerment Program (EE), to rejuvenate our Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and to introduce new programming initiatives such as the Restorative Justice Project.

EXPANSION OF OUR ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM

The global financial crisis and its microcosm in the American national scene has highlighted the vulnerable financial position of women. As recently as March 2009 the UN Women’s Commission released a press piece stating that concerted investment in women’s economic potential was vital to preventing “their disproportionate suffering”(Eilor, Elizabeth. The Gender Perspectives of the Finacial Crisis.United Nations, New York. Fifty-fourth Commission. 5 March 2009).

In this context the importance of our Economic Empowerment Program (EE) cannot be understated. New enrollment increases while the numbers of ongoing recipients remains constant. Of the 64 women who received EE services in the last quarter of 2009, 57 were receiving ongoing services and emotional support—a dramatic increase from 2008, a year when Sakhi provided ongoing EE support to approximately 34 women each quarter.

Our development plans include expanding credit options and entrepreneurship opportunities for survivors, breaking cycles of poverty by educating mothers on opportunities available for their children, as well as financial planning. We will also be expanding the Swarna Chalasani Fund, which currently is used to award grants for survivors to pursue educational or career options, to reflect principles of micro-finance and the multitude of paths survivors walk to self-sufficiency.

REJUVENATING OUR WOMEN’S HEALTH INITIATIVE

Sakhi’s Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) exists to educate community members, health care professionals and survivors on the effects of violence on mental, physical and sexual health. In the coming year we hope to focus this project on reproductive health and justice, exploring the link particularly between violence and reproductive choices. This work will fill a critical gap in knowledge about domestic violence and reproductive health in the South Asian community.

REMAINING VISIONARY: THE RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PROJECT

Sakhi’s restorative justice project is a new community-based, domestic violence intervention program – a survivor-led and survivor-implemented group that will empower women to speak truth to the various powers that influence their lives. It provide another option for women outside of court-based and police-based interventions . Women bear a disproportionate amount of shame for the intervention of the criminal justice system, often expressing to Sakhi the tremendous loneliness and lack of support they face on their road to self-sufficiency and security. Through the restorative justice project, we hope to provide a space where women can address all the social agents in their lives, and overcome by themselves and for themselves all the impediments that stand in their way.

We hope that you can join us on Friday October 1, 2010 for our “Blossoming into A New Decade” fundraising gala.  The gala will kick-off October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the words of our Executive Director, Tiloma Jayasinghe, “we expect the night will be a great party with substance and fun!”

To purchase tickets or to become a sponsor of the event please refer to the following link:http://www.nycharities.org/events/EventLevels.aspx?ETID=2204