October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
"Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family's home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. "
An excerpt from President Obama's Proclamation, Oct. 1, 2009 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How can YOU make a difference?
* On an individual level: Listen to the victims of domestic violence * Don't be judgmental * Provide the victim assistance by connecting him/her to resources * On a collective level: Increase public understanding of the depth and scope of our community's needs for DV survivors * Insert issues affecting South Asians into local, state and national dialogues to affect policies * Enhance ongoing and future advocacy. * Make referrals * Take a stand against domestic violence by supporting organizations like Daya in many possible ways, including being a volunteer
" One Voice Against Domestic Violence" Drew Large Crowds
In commemoration of October being National Domestic Violence Awareness month, Daya, a non-profit organization serving South Asian families in crisis, in collaboration with the Houston Police Department (HPD), held One Voice Against Domestic Violence, an awareness and outreach event at the Hillcroft Shopping Center parking area on October 3rd. Accompanied by the vociferous beat of the dhol wielded by drummer Jupji Singh, DJ Faisal Ishaque and volunteers holding up banners denouncing domestic abuse, Daya was unequivocally vocal in sending a strong and clear message to the community that domestic violence and should not be tolerated. In spite of the cloudy weather, the event drew a steady stream of over 175 participants, dignitaries, and volunteers from a cross section of our city's communities.
Participants from the University of Houston holding slogans against Domestic Violence at the One Voice
Daya representatives on site dragged the dark specter of domestic violence out of the closet and reassured the community that the organization was there to offer hope, solace, and protection to victims of abuse. Volunteer mehndi artist and face painters were also present to entertain the children that came along to show their support. Dignitaries in attendance included Councilman M.J Khan, Judge Steven Kirkland and running official Mike Laster. Representatives of ICNA Relief, YMCA International, Pakistan Women's Association, Be the Change-UH, and Child Protective Services were also present. Major sponsors of the event were Simmons Foundation, Verizon Foundation and Kohinoor Diamonds. Smaller monetary, food and electricity donations were provided by Kirti Jewelers, Raja Sweets, Udupi Café, Sabri Nihari, King Wholesale, Mumtaz Khan, Laxmi Sarees, Savoy Jewelers, Hot Breads and Eastern Grill.
Volunteers Helping Daya through Mini-Fundraisers
As Daya strives to help South Asian women and children in need, our volunteers and friends support us by organizing mini-fundraisers on their own and utilizing other opportunities to help those in need. Please see below for details of how our volunteers have helped us and our clients. Eid was a bit happier for fourteen children of Daya's Muslim clients through the generous support of Pakistani Women's Association. During the month of Ramadhan, several PWA members participated in a toy drive to collect money and toys. PWA donated $100 each for the seven Muslim clients and gave two presents to each of the kids.
On the occasion of Rakhsha Bandhan, volunteer Sonya Patel sold hand-made rakhis to her friends and family members and donated the money to Daya. Sonya also donated school supplies for the children of Daya clients in September before the schools reopened.
"Drink lemonade and donate for a worthy cause!" This is the line that caught the attention of many Kroger shoppers as they entered and exited the store. Daya's youngest volunteers, Golam Nashman, Nassef Ameen and their friends raised $200 for Daya by selling lemonade, homemade cookies and brownies. The stand was set up for two hours on August 1st, 2009 at the Kroger located on FM 1960 and Eldridge. The budding philanthropists got permission from Kroger management and organized the fundraiser themselves, with little help from their parents.
Young Volunteers at the Lemonade Stand.
Eight year old Nethra Prasanna donated her tooth fairy money to Daya. Young Nethra was visiting from Dallas-Fort Worth Area on July 4th weekend when the fire in the Daya office took place. Sesh Bala, Daya board member, had showed the pictures from the fire to Nethra's parents, Ganesh & Sangitha Prasanna. The little girl, Nethra, on seeing the photos, instantly asked her father for $20 from her tooth fairy money and gave it to Sesh, to help rebuild the Daya office. If you have any interesting fundraising ideas for Daya or would like to organize your own fundraiser to support Daya, please do share your ideas with us.
Daya's Seminar: Connecting & Communicating for Teens & Parents
Daya held its third annual seminar titled "Connect and Communicate: A Seminar for Teens, Parents and Young Adults on Forming Healthy Relationships" on August 29th at the University of Houston. The seminar attracted more than 100 interested participants and kicked off with an interactive theatre performance by Geeta Cowalgi and her group "Voices Against Violence." The play featuring Tej Singh, Soofia Aleem, Amy Tu and Yaksha Bhatt, highlighted the parental-teen tensions that arose as a result of a young lady leaving Houston for education at the University of Texas and becoming a rape victim. Throughout the performance, the scenes were frozen periodically to give the audience an opportunity to interact and ask questions as well as to give their opinion on the issues taking place in the scene.
Geeta Cowlagi (R) and other actors during the theatre performance.
Two other speakers at the seminar were Amanda Siroosian of ChildBuilders and Donna Wick of Montgomery County Women's Center. Wick showed many images that the teens come across everyday through various media outlets that encourage violence and abuse. Later, Cowlagi and Raman Sandhu of Saheli explored themes that lead to communication issues between parents and their children.
The seminar concluded with a discussion, moderated by Indrani Goradia, featuring ABC 13 reporter Sonia Azad, UH student Zainab Alam, Youth Leadership Development Program students Preity Ponnagenti, Nischay Bhan, and Kunal Pasrija. The seminar was sponsored by Simmons Foundation and Dr. Bandana Chawla of Bellaire Clinic.
Empowering the Community with Small Business Skills
Daya in collaboration with the Urban Business Initiative and the Alliance successfully initiated its first Small Business workshop series in September. The free workshops are currently being held once a week and will end in November. This is the first time that Daya has offered Business workshops for its clients and other community members. Some of the topics included in the series are Business Etiquette, Marketing, Financing, and Promoting Your Product. The workshops are designed to benefit anyone currently owning or thinking of starting a small business. Participants are required to attend all the workshops to fully benefit from the series.
The workshops are taught by volunteers of Urban Business Initiative, an organization that empowers victims of domestic violence to achieve economic independence from their surroundings through entrepreneurship. If you're interested in attending the workshops in the future, please email Amber Riaz, firstname.lastname@example.org. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Daya Named the Domestic Violence Organization of the Month in July by Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless, a telecommunications company serving the most wireless customers, recognized Daya in the city of Sharpstown as its Houston/Gulf Coast Region community of the month for July 2009. The southwest Houston community was selected for its unwavering commitment to helping the survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, as well as, its hardworking residents and organizations dedicated to the cause.
Daya is just one of many Houston-area domestic violence organizations that benefit from the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program, which collects no-longer-used wireless phone donations, batteries and accessories in any condition from any service provider. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Since the HopeLine program's inception in 2001, Verizon Wireless has collected more than 5.6 million wireless devices and accessories, thereby preventing those items from being deposited in landfills. HopeLine has also distributed more than 76,000 phones with more than 228 million minutes of free wireless service to victims of domestic violence and awarded cash grants of more than $6.3 million to organizations working to prevent and end domestic violence.
To participate in the HopeLine program, drop off your no-longer-used phones and accessories at any Verizon Wireless retail store in the designated donation boxes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Story 1 (2008): From the beginning of the marriage, Client 1 was going through domestic abuse in Pakistan. She came to the US to visit her relative with the children. The spouse came to the US, tricked her and took the children back, while leaving her here by herself. Client went into depression after which relative also asked her to leave the house. When she had nowhere to go, she was sent to a shelter by someone. She contacted Daya from the shelter for help. Daya placed her at the Transitional Home for eight months and applied for her asylum visa through which, she now has a green card. She is currently working at a department store and moving to an apartment of her own, soon.
Her words: "All I can say is, that it was through Daya that today I stand here alive, independent, strong and stable in my life . How can I forget the time when I first called Daya and had burst into tears instantly as heard Daya's client advocate listening to me with so much patience. She was the first person in my life who actually took interest in me and paid attention. The way she talked things over with me, made me very comfortable. She not only understood my situation but also I felt as if she was a part of my pain and genuinely wanted to take me out from it, which she did. I still burst into tears when I look back .The position I am in now wouldn't have been possible without your love, concern and efforts. Saying thank you isn't enough, but thank you so very much all of you and to the volunteers who brought us groceries at the Transitional Home. You all are and always will be in my prayers."
Story 2 (2009): Client 2 came to Daya nine months back in a devastated position, after her husband had sent her to India without the two kids and did not want her back. When she came back to the US, she was not allowed to enter the house and meet the children. The spouse then served her with a divorce. A relative of hers contacted Daya and asked for help. Through Daya's Legal clinic, she hired an attorney to fight her divorce case. During the six months at the Transitional Home, she applied and then landed a job in a private school. She has now moved into her own apartment.
Her words: "I do not know how to thank you, there are no words to express my feelings towards your care love and affection that you all have shown towards me. I was thrown into the deep blue sea, did not know how to swim and come out. Life became still and dreams shattered. It was each one of you at Daya that pulled me out and brought meaning back to my life. Each one of you said that life has a meaning, it is beautiful and we will show you the way and do anything and everything to help you to move forward. Each one of you did it. I was so naïve and innocent that I did not know anything - driving to computers - you did it for me. Each one of you meant so much to me that today each one of you are a part of my family; it means so much to have a family like you all specially when you have no one here, you are by yourself. Today with your devotion towards me, I have started my new life - a new beginning. But it would not have been possible without your hard work. Each one of you are special people in my heart and will never at any stage in my life forget what you all have done for me. You all are MY FIRST FAMILY."
Thank You, Volunteers!!
The Board and Staff of Daya would like to thank all of its volunteers for helping Daya fulfill its mission. We would especially like to thanks our volunteers who helped us recover from the fire at Daya's office, helped move transitional home client to her permanent space, helped at Connect and Communicate seminar and the One Voice event. Our volunteers play a key role in aiding with all logistical and education aspects, which range from making presentations at community events and mainstream organizations to grocery shopping for our transitional home clients. Thank you for helping us to make a difference in the lives of our own community members in need of help.
Daya Presentation for Pakistani Women's Association-Nov 1, 2009
New Volunteer Orientation- Nov 2, 2009
Attorneys Appreciation Luncheon-Nov 4, 2009
ChildBuilders Training for Volunteers-Nov 17 & 19, 2009
Ladies Night Out Fundraiser for Daya-Dec 5,2009 (Tentative)
Volunteers Appreciation Luncheon-Dec 6, 2009
Advocacy Training for Volunteers at Houston Area Women's Center Jan-Feb 2010
(All volunteers interested in working as Client Advocates are required to complete the training) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How to Support Us
There are many ways you can support Daya's efforts.
Domestic and international phone cards Non-perishable food items Shopping cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart,and Office Depot Extra Storage space Prepaid Visa cards Gas cards for one month fueling a car Old Vehicles
Pro bono legal services Pro bono or subsidized healthcare 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 Certification courses Host a benefit party Make a monetary donation 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 the effects 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 email@example.com. Please limit the number of words to 250 words/entry. Any suggestions/ideas regarding the newsletter are also welcome.