By Shanta Poddar, Volunteer
Shivangi Shah joined Saheli as a volunteer in the summer of 2016. She took a huge share of the responsibility of making Saheli’s online Purple Purse challenge a success. She worked tirelessly managing the technical aspects of the fundraiser, and helped to write the messages and create the images and video. She reached out to Board and Advisory Committee Members and volunteers via phone, email, and in person to urge them to rally support for Saheli’s Economic Empowerment Program through their personal networks.
The following is an interview with Shivangi.
Q: What inspired you to volunteer for Saheli?
A: I had previously worked at a domestic violence agency and wanted to volunteer my time again in this field. I knew that Saheli was a South Asian agency and I wanted to learn more about the specific challenges our community faced and how we could provide support. This led me to want to volunteer for them.
Q: What is it like to be a volunteer for Saheli?
A: It is definitely a hands-on experience and they really let you dive into volunteering. Since its inception Saheli has been run by volunteers, so they truly appreciate the work and skills you bring to the table.
Q: What was the most rewarding and challenging part of your volunteer work for Saheli?
A: The most rewarding part is that I am learning more about the unique challenges our community faces and the approach in providing them support is specific. Therefore, I am learning to how to better approach, engage, and work with individuals who have experienced domestic violence.
The most challenging part is that we are working within a community that is insular and trying to engage with them can be difficult.
Q: What is your personal belief regarding actions to be taken to fight domestic violence?
A: It’s not the responsibility of a person or a single organization to fight domestic violence. It truly takes a community that is rooted in empathy and compassion to end it.
Q: What is your advice to others who are thinking of volunteering for Saheli?
A: We can’t fight domestic violence alone. South Asians don’t like to talk about the domestic violence or they just pretend it doesn’t happen. But the more people we engage and support, we can truly change that mindset. So regardless of your skill or areas of interest, by participating and volunteering you are part of a community and are making a difference.
Thanks so much, Shivangi!