Why We Do What We Do
- by Salita Mehta
We believe that every woman, every child, every person, has the right to a life free from the fear of violence and abuse. We envision a world where everyone lives with dignity. We also know that those rights are sometimes violated in the homes that are supposed to nurture and protect; that violence does not discriminate, and cuts across age, class, and community lines. Immigrants are even more vulnerable as they no longer have left behind the safety net that was once available in the old home country. As women and as fellow human beings, and as Sahelis, we feel compelled to reach out and empower.
The need for Saheli's services continues to grow each year. Saheli’s domestic violence advocates continue to provide critical help in moments of domestic crises, connecting families to social services that provide shelter, food, transportation and safety. When the crises abate, and some peace is restored, the same advocates continue to work with women to empower them to resume their lives with dignity, peace and safety.
Empowering women is a complex process because not all women leaving bad relationships are the same. Some are well educated, employed, and independent. They need emotional support and friendship, a feeling of being connected to family and friends. Other women need employment assistance, a referral, a reference letter, a phone call to someone who is hiring. They may be educated, or not, but are willing to work hard to get back on their feet. Still other women may not have worked outside the house, either in the US or elsewhere. They need significantly more help and a long-term plan that will empower them from English language and computing skills, to finding childcare while holding down a job, to managing finances and budgets. They need support from social agencies, such as subsidized housing, food stamps, health care, and legal assistance.
Today we are proud to share the story of Saheli client Chandan (her name has been changed to protect her privacy.) We also share a Survivor's thanks to Saheli expressed in unmatched poetic eloquence!
Poem from a Survivor
My dear Sahelis: A poem, just for you
It had all come down to this.
Dreams burned into the dust, joys swept under the rug.
Trembling beneath the smile, tears trying to hold back tears
Like getting lost on a rainy road, without a home. With no destination.
I want to know the way where the sun never burns
I want to know the way where the sky is the earth...
.....the place where the stars shine forever,
And the time when my heart turns to gold...
Is it in the valley where rainbows live and play?
Over the mountains where angels used to pray?
Here at the altar of my life's blissful moments
I want to see the arms of my first smile...
But I can show you torn old faces that are made of sand
They are of the ones who taught me how to walk and held me by their hands;
I can show you tears of a child who is again, learning to smile...
I know her favorite star 'cause I've wished upon it with all my heart,
That someday my lost companion will find his way back home.
A family all alone, in despair, they helped us make it through each day,
The true 'Sahelis' kept my despair at bay.
Christmas was yet to come, but Santa's angels came to help...
from tip to the toe, our comfort and needs they kept fulfilling;
'you can do it' 'you will do it' , they said.
My dignity, pride and self-respect they kept in mind,
A warm hug, an affectionate kiss, a caring phone call, a compassionate email, or just a sweet nudge on the shoulder....
With a handful friends in need, true friends indeed.
And I am good to go catch the stars again.
The sunny days are now to shine
The sleepless nights are soon to be 'not mine'...
Its a matter of days that the sun will shine,
The despair and sorrows burning me are on the wean.
From the ashes, like a Phoenix,
I will rise again,
After all, when winter is here
Shall Spring be far behind?
Owen Trippe: Computer Literacy Teacher
Saheli is delighted to introduce Owen Trippe, our enthusiastic and talented Computer Literacy Assistant Teacher. Owen is a freshman at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, MA. Owen has been helping our Class Instructor, Saheli's Deepika Madan, to teach our clients crucial skills that are necessary for success in today's technological world; particularly for survivors seeking employment and financial independence from abusive partners. Owen is currently designing his own website and hopes to publish it before he graduates from high school. In his free time, Owen enjoys reading, listening to music, video games, basketball and tennis. He enjoys computers and is putting his skills to good use by volunteering for Saheli!
to learn about Saheli's free, weekly Computer Literacy Classes- starting on September 25th!