Daya Raises $90,000 Towards Establishing Transitional Housing for South Asian Families
Daya held its annual fundraiser, "New Beginnings", on Saturday, March 10, 2006. Daya grossed over $90,000 and had over 400 people in attendance at the event. The evening was a great success and the majority of money raised will go towards establishing Houston's first transitional housing facility for South Asian women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
Ellen Cohen, State Representative and President and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center, was the keynote speaker for the evening. The event was also attended by the Consul Generals from India and Pakistan along with Congressman Nick Lampson, Ft. Bend County District Attorney John Healy, and other dignitaries from the community. Moodafaruka, a local Houston band, provided entertainment with their fusion music and dance from around the world.
The Board of Daya would like to thank all of its donors, volunteers, and supporters for making this event successful. The organization is grateful to the Houston community for their overwhelming response to the fundraiser and support of Daya's mission and goals. Thank you for helping us to make a difference in the lives of women and children who are striving for a life free of abuse.
Save the Date:
Daya in collaboration with University of Houston
brings to you a must attend all day seminar Hidden Nightmare: Alcohol and Drug Abuse among South Asian Youth
When: Saturday, August 11th 2007;
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Where: University Center, University of Houston
4800 Calhoun, Houston, TX 77004
Co Sponsored by: The Simmons Foundation & Memorial Hermann Prevention & Recovery Center
Hidden Nightmare: Alcohol and Drug Abuse among South Asian Youth:
A must-attend seminar organized by Daya
Daya, in collaboration with the University of Houston , is holding an all-day seminar on alcohol and drug abuse among South Asian youth on Saturday, August 11th at University Center , University of Houston .
The goals of this conference are: to provide basic information on alcohol and drugs including prescription drugs to adults and youth; to stimulate dialogues within different segments of the South Asian community; and to foster collaboration between prevention agencies and the community.
Results of at least two studies show that Asian Americans use alcohol and other drugs as much as other minority groups, although their use may be less than that of Whites. Even in the absence of hard data, there is little doubt that substance abuse among South Asian youth is an emerging issue of concern. There have been published reports of drug overdose and drug related crimes by South Asian youth in recent times. The prevalent cultural norms, along with the stigma associated with the issue, often make it very difficult for families to come out and seek help. Thus, the secrecy around the issue gets reinforced, contributing to societal ill-health and degradation.
Through the seminar on August 11th, Daya hopes to lift the veil surrounding the issue of alcohol and drug abuse and its effects on individuals, families and the community. A panel comprising of psychiatrists, counselors, recovery program directors, faculty members, parents, youth advocates and recovered addicts will explore different aspects of the topic, answer questions and lead discussions. The conference will also focus on improving collaboration between the South Asian community and the resources available in the community.
The Long Road To DAYA
I still feel my stomach clench when car headlights illumine the driveway, announcing disquiet. My ear acutely registers the intensity of the key in the door, for it is an accurate predictor of what the evening holds in store. More often, the only recourse is to be as invisible as possible. His moods register unerringly on my personal Richter scale, the one I developed. I cower because the sight of my face aggravates him. He needs no provocation. He will always find something to fault. Our child has also learnt the wisdom of donning a cloak of invisibility. I have horrible visions of her repeating this cycle by finding a partner who will never understand her value. I cannot cover her eyes and ears to protect her from this situation. Once he imagined that she'd ignored him.
"You brainwashed her, you f#@king b#%ch he'd screamed at me. How could it not occur to him that she is a breathing intelligence that registers all the surrounding insanity? She was with us in the car at 11.00pm one rainy night when his ceaseless tirade drew no response, so he stopped the car on the busy feeder of '59, and ordered me out. I reached over and released the quaking child from the backseat while he elbowed me hard in the stomach. No way would I leave my child behind because he was driving drunk and had just run a red light. I hauled her into my arms and got out - but before I could shut the door he peeled off. A kindly taxi driver took us home and shrugged off the fare.
More recently, I had involuntarily looked over when his dinner plate had fallen from its precarious perch on his lap to the ground as he sprawled like a giant squid in front of the television in a drunken stupor. The crash had awakened him and he caught me witnessing his ignominy. Enraged he flung his shoes at my face while I was having my dinner. And he staggered over and slapped me.
Talking to my child about recognizing abuse and walking away from it is like whistling in the wind. What role model am I? I tell her to soar academically and to never be dependent on a man. Her scars are inside. As she grows she becomes more adept at appearing unfazed. My heart aches because I know that only time will tell how far the hurt has infiltrated. We are not imagining that something is wrong. If we feel it, something is indeed wrong. No woman in her right mind wants to blaspheme her husband by lying. We marry because we believe in happily ever after.
We are known faces in this community. Our public façade was so convincing, that I knew no one would believe me. I was party to the duplicity because to pretend meant survival. Then God whose existence I often doubted brought me the blessing of a cherished friendship with one of the founding members of this hallowed organization DAYA. I have leaned on her over the years, taking her advice, and baring my soul to her. Her compassion gave me hope. She has given me strength and definition - because along the way I forgot who I was. I'm now on my path to freedom. Words will never be enough to express how grateful I am to her, and to the angels at DAYA. You impacted my life - and I thank you so much.
The three day training, commencing on April 25th and ending on April 28th, held by Daya Inc in collaboration with the Houston Area Woman's Center (HAWC) educated South Asian women on family domestic violence and sexual assault issues. The topics discussed included financial, sexual, immigration, physical, emotional, and child abuse issues that are a very real, but concealed part of the South Asian-American society.
The objective of the training was to bring together a group of strong, accomplished, and passionate volunteers who are interested in providing volunteer support to the daya organization. The volunteers at the training came from various professional backgrounds and educational disciplines. The old and new Daya volunteers came to the
training with the desire to make a difference, and eventually to become a support system for abused victims.
The training was powerful, concise, and left a lasting impression amongst the twenty volunteers present. The sessions included interactive role playing, non-fiction stories about multiple abuse victims, informative and core shaking documentaries, and lectures from social workers from both, Daya and HAWC.
At the end of the training, the feelings and thoughts provoked within the volunteers were a mixture of shock and the need to get up and get involved. It was clear none of the volunteers were going to sit back and let the statistics increase. The fact that Daya has received over 2450 client related calls in 2006 is reason enough for these bold volunteers
to come forward and offer their assistance.
The training was open to both male and female volunteers; while it was encouraging to see so many women participating in the training, the organizers would like to see particiapation from South Asian men. This would go a long way in providing some muscle to the issue of domestic violence that affects the entire family.
Upcoming plans for Daya include continuing to: expand and strengthen direct services to clients; conduct education and outreach events; network with professional organizations; expand Daya's volunteer base; and establish and operate a transitional home for survivors of domestic violence.
By: Sunaina Mewara, Daya Volunteer
Why do you now feel the need to question me?
Why is it so impossible to just let me be?
According to you your abuses were justified.
I failed you no matter how hard I tried.
How could things have gotten this way?
How long you think this would be okay?
Did you think I would keep stepping back?
Did you think there'd be no counter attack?
Your insults have made me stronger.
Your manipulative hold on me is no longer.
Forgiveness is within me, I'll give it to u.
Love is in my heart, there's none left for u.
Being with you was my mistake.
My precious life is not for you to take.
I am who I am, I like it that way.
I never said more than you needed me to say.
I believe I'm strong, I believe I am true.
The one, who was left behind, is just you
2. Eat at the same time every day so your Agni can "fire up" for the meal and body gets used to the routine.
3. Eat your main meal at noon and lighter meals at breakfast and dinner. You can have a cup of warm/hot milk boiled with ginger at night if you feel Hungry
4. Eat while sitting down in a settled atmosphere; paying attention to the food when you eat (no TV, no phones, no reading).
5. Engage in pleasant conversation with friends or family (no emotional discussions).
6. Eat only when the previous meal has been digested (no untimely snacking--this really disrupts digestion. Eat only when you are hungry again.
7. Sit quietly for a minute at the beginning of the meal and wait for a couple of minutes after eating before leaving the table. This gives your digestion a settled start.
8. Leave a little space in your stomach at the end of the meal to give your digestion room to function. Regularly eat to only 3/4 of your capacity.
By: Dr. Prachi R. Garodia,
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal. For all health concerns please consult your personal health practitioners.
SAALT Seminar Washington D.C.
I attended the South Asian Summit organized by SAALT from March 16-18, 2007 in Washington DC. Over 200 people who were representatives of community based organizations, South Asian/Pan-Asian human rights groups and attorneys attended the summit. The focus of the conference was to look at emerging issues in the South Asian Community.
Over three days, we engaged in discussions ranging from sustaining stronger organizations to engaging in legislative advocacy; we convened at the Capitol to brief congressional members and staff about issues affecting the South Asian community and we met with representatives of government agencies - included officers from Health and Human Services, Americorps/Vista, HUD and Office of Violence against Women.
The summit proved to be an excellent forum to network with individuals/organizations in the field and explore how Daya could expand its work to carry out policy advocacy at the local and national level.
By: Meghna Goswami, MSW
Client Services Coordinator Daya, Inc.
R.I.P Guiatree Hardat
It is hard to imagine something worse for a parent than having to cremate their own child. Last month Sukhdeo Hardat of Queens has to do just that after his daughter's policeman ex-fiancée shot her to death in the middle of the street with his service pistol.
Harry Rupnarine joined the NYPD two years ago as a transit police officer. Soon thereafter, while in uniform, he met Guiatree Hardat and became her first serious boyfriend. She had just come to the USA from Guyana, and was studying at Queens College to become a math teacher. He was older, possessive and controlling:
The possessive cop wanted to keep so close an eye on his girlfriend that he often called her a dozen or more times a day. Rupnarine, 37, constantly nagged Guiatree Hardat, 22, to marry him. He was angry that she wanted to wait until she finished college.
They broke up, but got back together again. Unfortunately, things had not changed much:
He flipped out one day when she asked him to come in the kitchen and talk to her while she did some household chores."Your attention can't be in two places at once!" he told her, according to Hardat's relatives. "You must listen to me!"
They went out to dinner one day, as Rupnarine tried to patch things back up, but it did not work. She called her father at 7:08 PM to ask for a ride, then called him back to say she would take the bus home.
But Hardat, 46, felt uneasy about his daughter and headed out to find her. Her cell phone kept going straight to voice mail, and when she finally picked up, he heard her final words. "Go away!" the father remembers her daughter yelling at Rupnarine. "I hate you! I hate you!"
The call ended at that point, and by the time Hardat arrived at the scene, just past 7:45 p.m., Rupnarine was in handcuffs and Hardat's daughter was dead on the ground in a pool of blood.
The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell,
don't go back to sleep!
You have to ask for what you really want,
don't go back to sleep!
You know, there are those who go back and forth
over the threshold where the two worlds meet,
and the door, it's always open, and it's round,
don't go back to sleep!"
--Jalal al-Din Rumi
Learn as if you're going to live forever....Live as if you're going to die tomorrow.
-- M. K. Gandhi By: Anu Rao, Ph.D.
Daya in the Community
It has been an incredibly active and energized 2007 for us at Daya so far!!! Not only did Daya continue its tradition of supporting individual survivors, we have also been involved in many outreach events within and outside the Houston South Asian community. Since our last update to you in March we have been doing many things big and small.
· On March 20th Daya made a presentation at the Montgomery County Women's Center titled, "Opening Doors: Working with South Asian Survivors of Domestic Abuse". The presentation was attended by almost thirty individuals who work closely with crisis intervention, counseling, legal and support services to victims/survivors of family violence in Montgomery and surrounding counties.
· Daya co-sponsored the screening of Mira Nair's film "Namesake" in Houston. The event took place on March 20th at the Angelika Theatre downtown. The 200 audience theatre was fully packed and people had to be turned away half an hour before show time due to limited seating. The film was a deep felt look at the ties of family and birthplace, the loneliness of living far from home, and the connections that hold everything together. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the movie.
· On March 23rd Daya made a presentation at the Synott Masjid to an interactive group of twenty five women. The title of the presentation was, "Harmonious Homes Building Lasting Relationships".
· On April 12th Daya made a presention at the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services titled, "Challenges Faced by Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence"
· On May 6th Mr. and Mrs. Ghafur worked with Nighat Ahmed, Daya board member, to arrange a Daya outreach event at their house. Fifty men and women attended the event. Mrs. Ghafur arranged a lovely dinner for everyone. We thank Mr. & Mrs. Ghafoor for hosting the event for us.
· On May 17th Mr. Chad Patel invited Daya to make a presentation at the American Society of Indian Engineers (ASIE). The evening event was attended by 40 professionals form the community. Thank you Mr. Patel for allowing Daya to present at the meeting.
· On May 23rd the Alliance of Multicultural Community Services had a Health Fair. The fair was attended by almost 150 people. Daya had a room where presentations were made and many attendees stayed for continued discussions about how Domestic Violence has affected their personal lives or lives of their loved ones. Thank you Alliance we so love working with you all.
By: Maliha Imami-Alam , Community Outreach Coordinator Daya, Inc.
Host a gathering for Daya!
You can make a significant difference!!!!!!
We at Daya believe that a true community change can happen only from within! Daya is calling on all community members, volunteers, and friends to support our work to help South Asian families in crisis while enjoying the company of your friends and family.
Arrange an outreach events for Daya .
You invite your friends and we will bring all the information. "All our philosophy is as dry as dust if it is not immediately translated into some act of living service." (Mahatma Gandhi)
"Mom, Please Don't Yell at Me.."
Yesterday I came back home from my doctor's appointment.
"What did doctor tell you?", you asked.
Mom, should I tell you one problem that bothers me for as long as I remember first, or should I face the situation once again.
I decided to tell you just what the doctor told me without adding anything.
"Mom, the doctor told me I shouldn't drink soda a lot."
You furrowed your eyebrows and yelled, "When I told you that, you didn't listen. Now that the doctor has said the same thing, you're breaking the news as though a new continent has been discovered!"
But Mom, I heard you then, and I am listening to you, believe me I listened to you and not the doctor
You continued yelling, but I mentally shut my ears. I couldn't hear you anymore.
I journeyed back into my memory of the other day when I told you that my teacher thinks I have to be more organized. You yelled, "I told you so, but you didn't listen to me ".
A month ago, I came home and showed you my award for being neat and organized.
Your forehead wrinkled and you yelled, "I told you that before, but you ignored me".
I remembered each of those incidents. Each time I screamed in my mind: Mom, I heard you then, and I am listening to you not to others.
This is enough. I have to tell you once and for all what is my problem.
"Mom, will you please just listen to me for 17 minutes? I am not asking for too much, it is only one minute for each year of my life. Please listen and respect each minute. Please do not interrupt me. Mom, does it really matter why I am doing what you want me to do? Don't you want me to quit drinking soda and to be organized? I am doing these things, not just because someone else told me but because they reminded me of what you had already told me and wanted me to do. You know Mom, you were right most of the time. If I came to you and told you what others told me, it's just because I wanted you to know that you were right. I never meant that others know better than you. I never meant that they care about me more than you do. I just want you to know how perfect you are and how often others confirm your advice. Mom, you are a winner twice, first of all because I am ultimately obeying you and secondly, because I praise you by telling you that you are more concerned about me than all of these other people put together. Mom, you are wonderful, you are caring, and you are the winner.
So, please, next time when I obey you even through others, do not yell at me. Do not discourage me. Let me always feel comfortable to come to you and let you know that you were right. Doesn't that make you happy?
Next time, hug me, praise me and thank God that he showed me the right way.
Next time, please don't yell at me".
By: Fereshteh Gilanshah, Daya Volunteer
How To Support Us
There are many ways you can support Daya's efforts.
Domestic and international phone cards
Shopping cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Office Depot
Gas cards for one month fueling of a car
Pro bono legal services
Pro bono counseling services
If you own a home in Houston & are currently renting it out, you can donate 12-24 month rent -free space to Daya for client housing
Assistance with job referrals
Donate extra storage space
Diapers, non perishable baby food, baby furniture and children's toys in excellent shape
If you have any questions or are interested in helping in any of these ways please get in touch with us at
This newsletter is a way to keep you posted on Daya's activities, unveil horrors of Domestic Violence, and be a source of information for you.
If you would like us to include any pictures, poems, or articles in our next newsletter please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All submissions are subject to editorial board approval and editing. Sincerely,Maliha Imami-AlamCommunity Development CoordinatorDaya, Inc.