Marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month, country’s second oldest South Asian gender-justice organization plans to develop evidence-based, culturally relevant models to break cycles of intergenerational trauma.
NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2022 — The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation awarded Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi), the second oldest South Asian gender-justice organization in the United States, a $3 Million grant spread over the next 10 years to deepen multigenerational healing to South Asian families experiencing gender-based violence.
The largest gift of its kind to any South Asian American social service organization, this multi-year grant will help Sakhi establish the South Asian Safe Families Initiative, which will focus on supporting South Asian families through a culturally rooted approach.
“The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation has enabled Sakhi for South Asian Women to pursue transformative work with families impacted by violence through the South Asian Safe Families Initiative,” said Kavita Mehra, Executive Director of Sakhi for South Asian Women. “This bold initiative will take the conversation of healing from a siloed, individual experience to one that will bring families closer together and the restorative ripple effects of this investment will be felt for generations,” Mehra added.
Historically, not enough resources have been made available to the community. Research on mental health and gender-based violence is rarely adapted for the community, and South Asian-specific stressors such as immigration, socio-economic disparities, racism, and caste are seldom taken into account.
Sakhi and The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation believe that without considering these unique experiences, South Asian families risk transferring that trauma from one generation to the next and repeating the cycles of violence.
“Building upon the more than 30 years of experience Sakhi has developed in helping heal South Asian survivors affected by gender-based violence, we saw an opportunity to expand services to the children and family members also profoundly affected by the trauma of violence,” said Anita Bhatia, MHA, Executive Director of The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation. “Gender-based violence has an indelible impact on families from one generation to the next so it is important to not only find ways to break the cycle but to recognize that such healing takes time,” Bhatia added.
The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation’s 10 year grant will allow Sakhi to develop culturally valid interventions, and provide therapy that can strengthen the parent-child bond and interrupt this cycle. Expanding on Sakhi’s previous mental health interventions — made possible by an earlier 2019 grant by The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation — The South Asian Safe Families Initiative will address a crucial need in the community.
Investing in the mental health of South Asian children and families recovering from violence are vital for the well-being of the entire community. At the start of this Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation’s $3M grant to Sakhi for South Asian Women renews their long standing commitment to addressing mental health in South Asian communities and can help radically transform models of healing for survivors of trauma.