How Sakhi Helped Me: Words From Mahmuda, A Survivor

Tell us about how you came to Sakhi.

I went to the Manhattan Family Justice Center and they tried to connect me with a number of services including counseling. I asked for an agency that was geared towards my culture because I needed someone who understood my background and Sakhi’s name came up. Then, I took the decision to connect with Sakhi.

In what ways has Sakhi supported you?

There is always someone you can reach out to when you’re lost or confused about something, like many of us are sometimes. Sakhi has helped me in recognizing that I could get help and that they would guide me through it. When I came to Sakhi, I felt embarrassed because I thought I was shaming my culture because I was a part of a certain statistic. I wanted to be an individual who needed help. When I came to Sakhi, I did not have that fear of shame in me. I did not feel like I fell into this category of being part of a culture that oppresses women because that’s not my whole culture. I was provided services as an individual without being labeled.

What services of Sakhi’s have been most helpful to you?

I want to say Chai and Chat. I specifically needed mental health and emotional support services. Chai and Chat is about supporting each other in anything that comes up. This is a group where we talk about everything and anything. Because the Chai and Chat group is so diverse, it’s a different dynamic and it makes you feel that you are not alone and shows you that this can happen to anybody.

What do you like most about coming to Chai and Chat?

The sense of belonging and not being judged. Coming to this group, I’m doing something different. I don’t have to worry about anything. When I come there, I am free of worry and feel supported while supporting others. Hearing about someone else’s experiences motivates me to chase my happiness — a dose of positive reinforcement.

This month, all our donations are being doubled. Why do you think someone should give to Sakhi?

I want to start by saying that someone who gives to Sakhi is helping in more ways than one. When someone donates to Sakhi, they are donating to a greater cause — it is helping future generations. You are not just supporting women who are survivors but investing in the future of their children, and generations of women to come.
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