Saheli September Newsletter 2016
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Celebrating Saheli's 20th Anniversary

In September of 1996, three South Asian women were alarmed by rising rates of domestic violence in our community, and the appalling lack of support services. We came together to form Saheli, and over the course of 20 years we have helped thousands of South Asian women and families to find safety, peace and well-being. We are growing and learning every year, and have attracted the support of a powerful cadre of talented volunteers and partners. 

Our services have expanded to include immigration, visa and mental health referrals, economic empowerment programs and support groups for women. Saheli relies upon committed volunteers and operates at the grassroots level where our services are most needed.
Saheli would like to express our deepest appreciation to our generous donors and supporters as we celebrate this important milestone! We could not have achieved so much without your generous support.

Gouri Banerjee, Ph. D. Co-Founder and Board President


Making a difference- Saheli in action

By Katy Hurley, Program Coordinator
computer class graduation

Summer at Saheli has been busy! At the end of May, 48 students graduated from our computer literacy classes in Waltham and Quincy. We also joined our Together Empowering Asian Minds (TEAM) coalition partners in May to kick off a national public awareness campaign addressing mental health challenges faced by Asian-American girls and youth.

Our Advisory Committee held its semi-annual meeting to in June. We also started work on our new College Readiness Program for South Asian Girls with a grant from the Watertown Community Foundation. To volunteer with the Program as a College Readiness Mentor, please apply here.

We sadly bid farewell to Program Coordinator Mariya Taher in July. Ms. Taher will continue her work to end female genital cutting. We welcomed Katy Hurley as the new Program Coordinator. We also announced two new full-time positions at Saheli for AmeriCorps VISTA Development Specialists and a part-time, paid Court Accompaniment Intern position.

With support from the Community Health Network Area 15, we began to design a needs assessment of domestic violence services for South Asians in twelve CHNA15 towns. Dr. Uma Chandrika-Millner of Boston University is the Project Director. 

In August, Saheli conducted outreach at three major events. We celebrated with our hometown at the Burlington Town Day festival and connected with many Burlington residents. We joined the India Society of Worcester and the India Association of Greater Boston at Independence Day events on August and shared information about our services.

The Harry Dow Memorial Legal Fund gave Saheli funds to train domestic violence advocates, hold legal help seminars, hire a legal intern, and to appoint a Safety Planning advocate who will accompany women to court.

Between January 1st and July 31st, the Saheli Domestic Violence Program served 108 women with critical support and crisis management. To meet the needs of these South Asian women and families, Saheli is
 organizing a major online fundraising initiative in October. We will reach out to you, our generous supporters, family and friends to donate to Saheli as part of the Purple Purse Challenge with the All State Foundation.

Stay tuned for more information, we hope that you will support us!

Saheli Launches College Readiness Program for South Asian Girls

By Katy Hurley, Program Coordinator

In June of 2016, the Watertown Community Foundation gave Saheli funds for a College Readiness Program for South Asian Girls. The program will help break down cultural and literacy-related barriers to higher education among Pashto- and Urdu-speaking girls in Watertown.

We welcome your participation as “big sisters,” or College Readiness Mentors. Volunteers must be able to commit 4 hours per month between October 2016 and May 2017. For more information, click here.

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Help us provide crucial services to South Asian women and families in need. Donations are 100% tax deductible

Saheli Is Hiring AmeriCorp VISTA Development Specialists!

AmeriCorps VISTA logo
Help South Asian women and their families lead safe and healthy lives while earning over $1,200/month and gaining valuable development and non-profit management experience. Learn more.
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, September 7th
Thomas Crane Library, Quincy
11am - 1pm

Saheli's 20th Anniversary Celebration!

Saturday, September 10th
11 Bedford St
Burlington, MA 01803
2pm - 3pm
Thank you for your generous donations and support!

Donors January 1st – July 30th, 2016


Friends of Hasina
Motwane Foundation
Gora Banerjee



Susanna Lee
Jus and Kumud Singh
Sweta and Chetan Mepani
Pradeep Audho
Sangeeta Tandon



Edsall and Cassandra Hilty Charitable Fund
Meghana BasiReddy and Binu Gopinathan
Makarand and Swati Diwan
Vishal Mehra and Minakshi V. Chaudhuri
Rita and Hirak Sengupta



Sulo Musyaju
Mani Dixit
Aloka Sarkar
Natalie Rodic Marsan
Joya Banerjee
Prabasi of New England



Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Community Grant
Watertown Community Foundation
National Network to End Domestic Violence
Community Health Network Area 15
Harry Dow Memorial Legal Fund
Together Empowering Asian Minds (TEAM)

Mother-Daughter Volunteer Spotlight: Binu and Meghana

By Mani Dixit, CHNA Project Coordinator

This mother-daughter volunteer duo is doing wonders for Saheli. Earlier this year, Binu Gopinathan joined Saheli as a volunteer to be part of our writing volunteer group and after having volunteered with Saheli for some time, she inspired her daughter, Meghana, to join Saheli as a volunteer. Meghana, a 13-year-old artist, is now helping Saheli through providing her thought-provoking art to Saheli and allowing Saheli to have 50% of the proceeds from purchases of some of her artwork. Read our portrait of the artist.

Saheli is so proud to have this mother-daughter duo serve as volunteers! If you would like to volunteer for Saheli, please visit our website and fill out our volunteer application.


Domestic Violence Program Update

Over the past four years, the number of people served by Saheli’s Domestic Violence Program has grown steadily. From January 2016- July 2016, Saheli assisted 108 individuals seeking support for domestic abuse-related issues. Recently, we have seen a rise in the number of women and families who are approaching us with very complex cases, including cases involving transnational abandonment and child custody battles. These cases require more staff time for risk assessment, safety planning, legal advocacy and referrals, and connecting clients with appropriate resources.

Between January and July of 2016:

  • 108 South Asian women received advocacy and supportive counseling services
  • 481 hours were spent with clients by 4 staff members and 3 volunteers
  • 304 one-on-one meetings were held
Domestic Violence Program staff and volunteers assisted clients with: police and court proceedings, locating and securing housing and shelter beds, advocacy and support in health care settings, and connecting survivors with employers, job training, educational opportunities and public benefits. In addition, a licensed social worker provided 102 hours of counseling. 

In the fall, Saheli plans to train four more volunteers to serve as Domestic Violence Advocates. Many thanks to everyone who has donated their valuable time and financial contributions toward helping us respond to domestic abuse in Greater Boston’s South Asian community. 

Please help us to celebrate Saheli’s 20th Anniversary with a generous donation to the Sujana Chalasani Fund for Women in Crisis today.

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1345
Burlington, MA 01803

Meeting Group Location:
Saheli Boston
11 Bedford Street
Burlington MA 01803

Copyright © 2016 Saheli Boston, All rights reserved.
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Saheli, Inc. · P.O. Box 1345 · Burlington, MA 01803 · USA

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