Sakhi & COVID-19

During the pandemic, the UN reported that rates of domestic violence experienced by women and girls increased by 20% globally. Given the trends that we saw through our organization, we believe that the actual rates of increase are substantially higher, especially given that this data does not address rates of violence amongst people of all genders.

Over the past few years, our advocacy efforts have magnified our impact and reach in New York City. In March of 2020, we shifted our services to operate remotely and began focusing on addressing the most pressing needs of our community members: employment, food security, and emotional well-being. In 2021, we distributed $415,000 to survivors to support food, educational, rental, and other basic needs and provided 450 survivors with anti-violence advocacy.

Throughout the pandemic, we made several notable gains:

  • We expanded our team’s capacity by directing our funding toward hiring new staff members across every program area
  • We formalized our Transitional Housing Program as a robust Housing Program that offers scaffolded rental assistance and guaranteed housing to survivors for up to two years and grew our Housing Team from 1 to 3 advocates
  • Through our policy efforts, we worked with five other local organizations to secure $13.5 million in state funding for AAPI organizations in New York that are working to prevent violence, and another $3 million in state funding for the disaggregation of AAPI data.
  • Beginning March 1, 2022 Sakhi’s helpline expanded from Monday to Friday 10am- 6pm to 10am to 10pm, part of our planned expansion to a 24/7 hotline by the end of 2022. Sakhi’s helpline is New York City’s only gender-based violence helpline staffed by native speakers of multiple South Asian languages. 20 helpline volunteers completed 20 hours of training to staff our helpline
  • Sakhi became an instrumental founding member of South Asian Survivors, Organizations, and Allies, Rising (SOAR) – a national advocacy and capacity-building organization for survivors from the South Asian diaspora
  • In April, Sakhi received its biggest commitment to date. The Bhatia Family Foundation has made a $3MM investment in Sakhi to launch The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation’s South Asian Safe Families Initiative. The gift, which will be distributed over 10 years, will ensure the sustainability and expansion of Sakhi’s mental health program
  • Sakhi is continuing to facilitate a culture shift at the organization to be more inclusive of and attentive to survivors of all genders and sexualities
  • Sakhi is planning to open a third brick-and-mortar office, situated in Brooklyn, near the end of 2022.