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Sahara’s History and Time line of Events: 2004 to 2010

History:

Sahara of South Florida, a vibrant women’s organization has been working since 2004 to reduce the incidence of violence against women in Asian communities. Sahara meaning “support” in Hindi and Urdu is a Miami based community group working to combat domestic violence and support to women in distress within the South Asian communities of South Florida.

Violence against women is an epidemic that knows no cultural, class, race or religious boundaries; however South Asian women in particular face unique challenges. Many South Asian women experience isolation and cultural inhibitions to report domestic violence. Language as well as cultural barriers and lack of knowledge regarding community resources makes it increasingly challenging for those affected by domestic violence within South  Asian communities

Sahara was born out of an urgent and increased need for culturally sensitive and appropriate information to be made available to South Asian women of Miami Dade and Broward Counties. Sahara was founded in 2004 as a joint project of Miami-Dade Asian American Advisory Board (AAAB) and Women’s Advocacy Project (WAP) of Women’s Fund of Miami to address   lack of awareness of domestic violence issues and paucity of resources  in Asian communities .In the last seven years, Sahara has grown from a small group of South Asian women who were responding and assisting survivors of violence and women in distress in their ethnic and religious communities into a well organized and strategic organization ,whose core programs include raising awareness about violence against women in South Asian communities and, providing culturally sensitive advocacy and support to survivors. Sahara also strives to develop women’s leadership and educate service providers and the community at large regarding the empowerment of South Asian women.

Sahara is very proud of its accomplishments in the past seven years. From outreach events to fund raisers, domestic Violence trainings and discussions, we continue to spread awareness regarding the occurrence of domestic violence in South Asian communities and strive to provide intervention as well as prevention. These are some of our accomplishments since Sahara was established.


 

Time Lines

2010
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Sahara has continued participation in events held at Miami Dade and Broward Communities of South Florida. Some of our accomplishments this year include the following;

Sahara received a grant in the amount of 15,000 from Women’s Fund of Miami. Sahara expresses its sincere gratitude to Women’s Fund for their continued support and guidance to Sahara.

March, 2010. Hosted our fifth annual bazaar at the Asian Cultural Festival held at Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead, Florida.

June, 2010: Women’s Health Initiative: A workshop on women’s health issues focusing on sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health was provided to survivors of domestic violence and other participants on June 18th by Tehsin Siddiqui at UHI Clinic, Miami Gardens, Florida.

July, 2010: Chai Chat was hosted by Nilu Chaudhury on July 24, 2010 at a private residence focusing on issues related to survivors of domestic violence.

October, 2010: Sahara cosponsored with Asian American Advisory Board, a Community forum and Information Fair on Domestic Violence, on October 21, 2010 at Stephen Clark Government Center. Main Stream organizations providing domestic violence services participated in the event.

Sahara participated in the Domestic Violence Panel organized by the Sisterhood of Survivors and Mi Lola on October 28, 2010 at Belafonte Talcolcy Center, Miami, Florida.

Sahara participated in community events such as Annual Domestic Violence Walk at Gwen Margolis Amphi Theater on October 2, 2010 and Safe Walk organized by Women in Distress on October 30, 2010 at Markham Park, Sunrise, Florida.

Sahara cosponsored the annual Scholarship event organized by Friends of Asian American Board on October 9, 2010 at University of Miami.

Partnership with NUR Center: Sahara is working in close coordination with NUR Center which focuses on the specific cultural and religious needs of South Asian women and provides emergency housing for victims of domestic violence as well as women in distress.

 

2009 Click Here to View Photo Gallery

Sahara is the recipient of RJ Catalyst Grant from Tide Foundation and Women’s Fund in the amount of 11,250 to increase awareness of reproductive justice issues through community organizing in South Asian communities.

Fund Raising: Sahara organized the annual Bazaar at the Asian Cultural Event held at the Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead, Florida.

Sahara organized Chai Chats, to engage community dialogue concerning domestic violence and other reproductive justice issues and also participated in local community events.

Workshops:

February 2009: Sahara hosted a workshop on Domestic Violence at the NASALSA Conference, Miami.

March, 2009: Sahara organized a Teen Summit to educate the youth about healthy relationships.

April 2009: Sahara participated in SAALT conference held in Washington, DC.

September 2009: Town Hall Meeting: Sahara cosponsored the event with SAALT which focused on Immigration and Human rights issues relating to South Asians held at Tamarac Community Center, Tamarac, Florida.

Community Events:

July 2009: Film screening of “Provoked” and discussion held at South Regional Library, Pembroke Pines, Florida.

October 2009: Sahara participated in community events   such as the Safe Space Domestic Violence walk, cosponsoring the Domestic Violence Walk and Candle light Vigil with No More Tears Domestic Violence Walk at Barry University.

November 2009: Sahara cosponsored the Scholarship for Asian Students event with Friends of Asian-American Advisory Board held at University of Miami.

 


 

2008 Click Here to View Photo Gallery

Fund Raising: Sahara organized the Annual Bazaar at the Asian Cultural Event held at Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead.

Jazz Yatra: On March 22nd Sahara held Jazz Yatra 2008 at Coral Springs Center for the Arts. The evening was an elegant presentation of Jazz and Indian styles of dance and music .The professional Indian dancers focused on the theme of” Rejuvenation” and incorporated several styles of dance set to scintillating fusion music.  The event enabled Sahara to raise $9000 in ticket sales and donations to assist in provision of victim advocacy and support.

REVIEWS FOR JAZZ YATRA 2008

"It was a distinct pleasure to attend Jazz Yatra on March 22, 2008. The program was presented in a very polished way. The creators and the presenters deserve the highest acclaim. The script was clear, appropriate and effective. The narration were crisp and faultless. The dancers performed superbly, and the musicians were simply outstanding. Overall, this event was one of the best I have attended. I congratulate everyone involved in it. Thank you for your unselfish effort to help Sahara."

Abdullah Fatteh

"We really did enjoy the Jazz Yatra show. The dances were mesmerizing and all the dancers had so much energy! The music was also spectacular and my foot was tapping the whole time. Well done on all the organization. I thought everything went so well! "

Indu Kapur

"Awesome performances by the dancers and musicians. Scintillating indeed!! "

Billo Jolly

"This was the first Jazz Yatra I was able to attend and I was completely blown away by the fusion of all cultures into one beautiful performance. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the combination of western and eastern instruments making the most beautiful music I've ever heard live. I can't wait till the next show. "

Sai Archana Pararasasingam

"Jazz Yatra was phenomenal, outstanding, brilliant & dazzling. The dancers and their performances were immensely praiseworthy. Sahara has to be admired for their devotion, commitment & dedication to the plight of abused women and the need to be involved in such a worthy cause. "

Niru Chauhan

"Jazz Yatra 2008 - promised an evening of scintillating fusion dance and music and delivered way above and beyond its promise. The dance segment titled "Rejuvenation" - representing the stages in the life of a woman was enthralling to say the least. The choreography was brilliant and diverse inspired no doubt by a fabulous script and superb narration. The costumes were very innovative and well put together.

The music segment was sheer heaven with the east definitely meeting the west and blending seamlessly and effortlessly. It held the audience spellbound and leaping off their seats in admiration at the same time. Kudos to Sahara and its volunteers for taking up such a great cause and working tirelessly."

Jayashree & Ramesh Sivaraman

"Jazz Yatra 2008 was a much anticipated event this year and it truly stood up to its test. The first segment was a Dance segment fusing various dance forms by talented artistes based in South Florida. Lovely and very creatively, they used several formations to portray the seasons as they reflect a woman meandering through various stages of life. The second half was truly a journey. A few pieces definitely stood out. "Spirit of Sahara" was a magical treat blending Carnatic raaga with western music. "Sefer", the Turkish item was also a joyful rendition that the audience truly enjoyed. The finale was completely befitting the evening's performance. Titled "Ascension" this piece truly blended not only the musicians coming from across the globe, but it also complemented the theme running this scintillating evening. What a wonderful evening of dance and music....Looking forward to Jazz Yatra 2009! "

Shilpa Krishnan

Community grant in the amount of $5000 was awarded to Sahara by Women’s Fund of Miami.


Workshops/ Seminars:

April 9, 2008. Presentation on the dynamics of domestic violence in South Asian Families  by Dr.Sujata Warrier, Director, The New York City Program of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The event was co hosted by Women in Distress, held at Jim and Jan Moran Family Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

July 17, 2008: Sahara co hosted a seminar with the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) addressing the civil and criminal issues pertaining to domestic violence victims at BCC Pembroke Pines Campus, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

July 31, 2008. Sahara co hosted a second seminar with SABA addressing legal issues in provision of domestic violence services, held at the University Of Miami School Of Law.

September 19-20, 2008: Sahara participated in Aarohan, a national conference for South Asian Women’s Organizations, organized by Manavi at New Jersey.

November 1, 2008: Capacity Building and Client Services, Training for Volunteers by Rita Patel, Raksha, Atlanta.

November 15, 2008. Organizational Development Training by Vinita Jethwani, Manavi, New Jersey

 

2007 Click Here to View Photo Gallery

Fund raising: On January 27th  Sahara held Jazz Yatra, an evening of Music and Dance, to raise funds for Victim relief and Advocacy at Broward Theatre for Performing Arts. The evening was a scintillating presentation of Jazz and Indian styles of music, blending together seamlessly. The professional Indian Classical dancers, focused on the theme of “Empowerment of Women”, also brilliantly choreographed to fusion themes. The event was able to raise $11,000 in ticket sales and donations to assist Asian women in distress.

REVIEWS FOR JAZZ YATRA 2007

"I would like to say a great big THANK YOU to all of you, first of all, to be part of such an amazing organization and second of all, to have such wonderful inspiring mentors to work with!! You all did an absolutely PHENOMENAL job!!! I was knocked out of my seat!! Take care..."

Bina

"Congratulations for the fabulous event the other night! It was splendid, I really enjoyed it."

Jo

"The event was a huge success. I was overwhelmed by what I saw and heard on Saturday - the event was nothing short of amazing. I am so proud to be affiliated with this group, and I am truly inspired by the efforts of everyone involved. "

Shveta

"First of all let me say that this is my first opportunity to wholeheartedly congratulate you on a sublime event Saturday night! It was executed flawlessly and the artists were truly wonderful!! You have a lot to be proud of and I can say on behalf of myself and other sentiments I heard on the evening that we are very lucky to have your expertise. I can't wait for Jazz Yatra 2!! "

Best, Sophie

"Dancing to Prose: In one corner of my mind I was excited to see fusion in art forms but in another corner there was a skeptic in me…. But the artists in the dance segment of the Sahara program proved beyond doubt that when fusion is done in a tasteful and uncompromising manner it can be a true delight. We witnessed the talented dancers perform to traditional Bharatha Natyam songs, North Indian songs and even to prose. The theme undertaken by them was “A Woman Speaks” and it struck a chord with the entire audience. The whole program was very well organized. Congratulations to everyone who has been involved with Sahara in helping women as well as putting together a successful program. "

B. Seetharaman

Sahara held its second Annual Bazaar at the Fruit and Spice Park which was a great success with the help of volunteers from Barry University.

 

Women’s Fund of Miami Grant: Sahara was awarded a Community Grant in the amount of $10,000 from Women’s Fund of Miami. This grant enabled Sahara to build it’s infra structure by employing two part time Victim advocates.

501©3 Status: Sahara was incorporated as Sahara of South Florida, Inc. The board of directors was established and articles of incorporation as well as by laws were prepared.

Sahara Teen Dating and Violence Seminar was held on August 18th at Tamarac Community Center, Tamara, Florida.

 

2006 Click Here to View Photo Gallery

Sahara as a growing Grassroots Organization held multiple awareness events and trainings, in addition to regular monthly meetings. In March, at the Asian Cultural Festival held at the Fruit and Spice Park, Sahara organized it first Bazaar, selling ethnic clothing and gift items donated by community members. At the two day festival, Sahara not only raised money for direct relief for women affected in South Asian communities but also distributed public awareness materials to hundreds of community members attending the festival.

In June, in partnership with the Advocate Program, Sahara arranged a presentation by Dr.Sujata Warrier, a well renowned expert on the intersection of culture and domestic violence. Dr.Warrier shared her personal experiences as a long time domestic violence advocate, activist and founding member of Manavi and provided insight into the future possibilities for Sahara, based on the successful accomplishments and Journey of Manavi.

Sahara Help Line:

Through the nurturing support of WAP staff, Sahara has established a toll free phone line which will enable victims to leave a message for victim advocates who can direct them to needed referrals, resources and services. The phone number is 1-866-567-7635. Calls are returned within 48 hours.

Sahara has formed an advisory committee and produced discreet Palm cards and educational materials for public distribution.

Grants:

Sahara has received its first Capacity building grant from Women’s Fund of Miami.

Contributions from the South Florida Community:

In July 2006, The Association of Indians in America, South Florida Chapter contributed a generous donation in the amount of $2000. In addition, Sahara received several donations from residents of South Florida communities which helped us in preparation of our educational and informational pamphlets and brochures.

Website:

With the help of SFL Indians.com we launched a website that is accessible for anyone in need of services and for those interested in volunteering with Sahara. Visit us at www.saharafl.org.

Domestic Violence Training:  

December 16, 2006.  Dr.Shashi Jagadish conducted training on domestic violence dynamics in Asian communities and issues pertaining to counseling South Asian women.

 

 

 

 

2005

The Sahara Asian women’s group with the help of volunteers started providing victim advocacy and support to South Asian survivors of domestic violence.  The group also worked on preparation of brochures as well as educational materials for outreach in South Asian communities.

 

2004

The Asian American Advisory Board and the Women’s Advocacy project created the Sahara Asian Women’s Group. The core group of women in this group represented different cultural as well as ethnic and religious groups of South Asian communities. Group meetings were held on a monthly basis to begin the process of identifying the needs and developing strategies to address the issues. A series of trainings on domestic violence dynamics and the available community resources were conducted to train the core group of volunteers.

 

 

 
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