The year 2015 has come and gone and here at Saheli, Support and Friendship for South Asian Women and Families. We’ve been busy as we’ve expanded and accomplished a lot through our services. This year, Saheli welcomed a new Board President and three new members to its Governing Board. In May we appointed a new Program Coordinator. In July, we moved into Saheli’s first office at 11 Bedford Street, right next to the Burlington Public Library where we have met for 19 years.
Domestic Violence Program:
Between 2012 and 2015, Saheli domestic violence advocates served over 577 survivors of domestic violence. During that time period, these advocates have spent close to 3,000 hours in meetings with women and families to counsel them, create individualized safety plans, and provide referrals to housing, legal, economic, immigration, and mental health resources. In 2015 alone, Saheli advocates spent over 681 hours assisting domestic violence survivors (see graph for top services provided). Saheli also organized a Women’s Friendship and Support Group at the end of the year to help break the isolation that women in domestic violence situations often feel.
Computer Literacy Courses:
This year we’ve also continued providing our Computer 101 Literacy Course in Waltham during the Spring and the Fall which provide a basic introduction to web browsing, resource finding, e-mail, and Microsoft Word and Excel. The successful program has now expanded to Quincy for Fall 2015 where fifteen people registered for the inaugural course.
Economic Empowerment Courses:
Additionally, through our Economic Empowerment Fund, Saheli was able to provide financial assistance for nine women to have access to everyday needs like food and transportation, and for more women to enroll in driving and English language fluency courses. Saheli also provided a scholarship to a Nepali South Asian woman so she could continue with Nursing School, after learning that the earthquake in Nepal had shattered her family’s ability to be able to provide financial assistance for their daughter.
Men Against Violence Program:
The Saheli Men Against Violence Program was busy with activities as well, hosting an event with Corporate Cricket League of Massachusetts to engage men in anti-violence work. Saheli also was a proud partner and supporter of Jane Doe Inc.’s White Ribbon Day Campaign in March 2015.
Emotional Well-being and Mental Health Program:
Through our Emotional Well-Being and Mental Health Program, Saheli was able to host a series of events catering to the need for conversation around emotional health in three different towns for the South Asian community, which included topics such as Resilient Teenager: Navigating Two Cultures and Motherhood: A Demanding and Invisible Journey. More research materials relating to mental health can be found on the Saheli website.
Volunteer & Outreach to the Community:
Throughout the year, Saheli has actively been involved in outreach work to the community to provide information about our services. We have received support from the community through our ladies-only Mehndi gala, Nirbhaya gala fundraiser that gathered 300 community leaders together, and the to mark Domestic Violence Prevention.
None of this work could have been done without the support of our dedicated volunteers, which we have launched a dynamic volunteer recruitment and retention program for that has created new volunteer groups including a writer’s group. In recognition of all the amazing work that Saheli has done over the years, in 2015 Saheli received two notable awards: the Asian American Commission of Massachusetts Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award.
If you would like to become involved in Saheli, please visit saheliboston.org.