SAKHI for South Asian Women Records

Date Range: 19902009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-04-20
Creator: SAKHI for South Asian Women

History: SAKHI for South Asian Women is a New York City-based not-for-profit dedicated to ending domestic violence against women. Founded in 1989 by a group of five South Asian women from diverse professional backgrounds, SAKHI, meaning “woman friend,” provides culturally-sensitive and language-specific support to survivors of domestic violence. The organization works to mobilize the South Asian community to actively engage in the movement to end violence against women, challenging the silence surrounding domestic abuse within the community. Their work with survivors includes crisis intervention, monthly support groups, assistance in accessing free or low-cost legal representation, health services, public benefits and housing, and accompaniments and translation assistance in court, during health care visits, and at welfare agencies. Their Economic Empowerment Program assists survivors on their paths to self-sufficiency, providing classes and workshops on basic computer literacy, English communication, resume writing, and internet job-searching. Their Swarna Chalasani Economic empowerment fund provides small grants to qualified survivors to pursue career and educational opportunities.

As part of their Community Engagement and Media Program, SAKHI publishes Community Speaks, a community-focused annual newsletter, and maintains an interactive website offering a wealth of information and resources. In addition, SAKHI organizes and participates in forums, meetings, conferences, marches, panels, and other outreach/education events, and works with the South Asian and mainstream media, schools, religious institutions, and community and cultural centers to raise awareness about domestic violence. In addition to its community work, SAHKI engages in policy advocacy aimed at reforming the structures that often act as obstacles to South Asian women accessing the assistance they need. Highlights in the organization’s history in advocacy work include the second Violence Against Women Act, which in 1994 was revised to enable immigrant survivors of abuse reliant on abusers for legal immigrant status to self-petition for their green cards, several recent victories in their Court Interpreters Project, and upcoming projects on the prevalence of financial abuse, research on the linkages between violence and reproductive health and decision-making and a pilot restorative justice project. Sakhi’s policy works seeks to translate the direct service expertise and understanding of what South Asian survivors of domestic violence face to multiple stakeholders in diverse fora, thereby contributing to the global movement to end violence against women.

Sources: SAHKI for South Asian Women. “Mission and History.” Accessed February 4, 2015.

Summary: SAKHI’s records span in date from 1990 to 2009, and contain materials relating to the organization’s clients, direct services (including its Economic Empowerment program, Faith Base Initiatives, and Court Interpreter Program), community outreach, publicity, development, administration, volunteers and personnel, as well as publications on relevant topics. Totaling 48.25 linear feet and spanning the years 1988-2010, Sakhi’s community outreach files include resources for volunteers, other organizations, and survivors. Included are multiple copies of Sakhi’s films Journey Towards Justice, Life Without Fear, and Empowering South Asian Women (on VHS and DVD); event recordings (on VHS); press clippings (from publications including from India Abroad, India Currents, and the New York Post); press releases; media lists; event and conference flyers and programs; pamphlets detailing Sakhi’s services in English, Bangla, and Hindi; newsletters; conference notes; photographs of events and staff; correspondence with other U.S. based South Asian/American organizations (e.g. South Asian Americans Leading Together [SAALT], DRUM [Desis Rising Up and Moving], and the Indo-American Arts Council) as well as other domestic violence advocacy groups such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); and email printouts. In addition, the outreach files contain volunteer and intern applications and training materials, which outline Sakhi’s services, mission, approach, and history. There are also training manuals which feature information on immigration law, domestic violence, community work, and demographics of South Asian Americans. Educational materials for judges about Sakhi’s Court Interpreter Program measure 2.0 linear feet. Inactive and confidential survivor files span in date from 1990 to 2003 and, measuring 24.0 linear feet, make up of a significant portion of Sakhi’s records. These files contain intake forms and documentation of services provided. Materials relating to the organization’s Economic Empowerment program total 6.5 linear feet and span the years 1994-2009. Included are resource materials (e.g. guidebooks, brochures, and pamphlets) on financial literacy, personal budget, identity theft, job searching, small business development, and credit and debt management. Most of these materials are in English, with select publications also in Bangla. In addition, documentation in the form of lesson plans, worksheets, attendance sheets, and class evaluations of Sakhi’s Economic Empowerment classes (which include English language curriculum and computer workshops) are maintained here. Of note are the responses to a 2005 needs based survey and applications to the organization’s Swarna grant. Sakhi’s Faith Base Initiatives are documented in 3.15 linear feet and contain proposals, reports, articles, books, conference materials, annotated bibliographies, and training folders on the connections between faith and domestic violence from 2004-2009. Resource sheets for survivors on housing, legal services, and the NYPD are also maintained in these files, as are training manuals for volunteers and responses to a survey of clergy members, which Sakhi conducted.

The executive director’s records, which span in date from 1996 to 2008 and total 49.5 linear feet, include 14.0 linear of confidential personnel and board files, as well as documentation of staff development in the form of retreat files, yearly work plans, and programs from conferences on non-profit management, advocacy, and executive development. Current files on Sakhi’s various initiatives including its Court Interpreter Program, Women’s Health Initiative, and Swarna Fund files contain meeting notes, emails, reports, DVDs, articles, training manuals, brochures, and event flyers. Reports on the Indian and Indian American community in the U.S., Sakhi’s strategic plans, and statistics on services it rendered are also contained here.

The work of other organizations, including APICHA, Center for the Women of New York, Safe AT Home Foundation, UN Development Program, Women of Color Network, Asian Women’s Shelter, and Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, are documented with newsletters, press releases, news clippings, and annual reports. Sakhi’s work with these organizations and others are recorded in the form of emails and event flyers.

The executive director also maintains a small library of current, relevant publications including Ending Violence Against Women: From Words to Action, a study of the Secretary General published by the United Nations.

The organization’s development files total 20.0 linear feet and include 16.0 linear feet of fiscal files and grant proposals organized alphabetically by funding institution and individual from the years 1991-2007. Additionally, 2.0 linear feet document Sakhi’s events, including its annual gala, visual arts exhibition, film festival, and co-sponsored events with the New York Asian Women’s Center and Safe Horizons from the 1990s to 2009. These files contain xeroxed copies of press coverage (stored in plastic sleeves), invitations, programs, brochures, donor appeal letters, flyers, and attendance sheets. Of significance are materials relating to Sakhi’s play Interrogations and copies of Bolo Bahen! Speak Sister!, which Sakhi co-published with The Jahajee Sisters. The remaining 2.0 linear feet of the development records contain copies of returned checks.

The remaining 5.75 linear feet of Sakhi’s collection contain additional resources for survivors, including directories of therapists, legal and health providers, and information on other domestic violence organizations, support groups, English classes, and immigration. In addition, the organization maintains call logs and attendance sheets of all of their events.

Total Size: 157.15
APA-related Size: 157.15
Languages of materials: English, Bangla, Gujurati, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.
Arrangement: other
Location: SAKHI for South Asian Women offices
Bibliographic Control: inventory
Conditions Governing Access: Inaccessible to the public.

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