Tell us about your work and experiences with Sakhi.
I work for the Watson Foundation. We expand the vision and develop the potential of promising college students by providing them with different types of fellowships. One fellowship is granted to graduating college senior to travel the world for one year and explore a topic they are deeply passionate about. Our second fellowship is granted to current college students and is a three year fellowship that provides personal and professional development.
In terms of my experiences with Sakhi, I have tried to support them in any way that I can. In the past I have helped to plan fundraisers, spread awareness to others about Sakhi and participated in the India Day Parade and the Gala.
What drew you to working with Sakhi?
It is such an important cause and I believe that they have been so essential in helping so many women. What I love about Sakhi is that they don’t just help survivors but empower them so they feel confident in making a better lives for themselves. They almost guarantee that once they are in your lives the impact they have is lifelong.
What are your hopes for how Sakhi can grow as an organization?
Besides growing the great work they already do to reach more people, I hope that they continue to specifically grow in the youth sector. I think it’s really important for young people to be aware of issues and nuances that surround domestic violence. Whether it’s a young person whose parent has been a victim or a young person who can help to bring awareness to their college communities I think I would love to see Sakhi grow more of their youth presence.
Why do you think it’s important that New York’s South Asian community support Sakhi’s work and advocacy?
I love that quote: “It takes a village to raise a child” and I think in a similar sense the more support and community involvement we have the more change we can enact.
How do you think young professionals in New York can be more involved in gender justice and fighting for equality in their communities?
I think a lot of people care about gender justice and fighting for equality but a) think they need to engage in large campaigns and organizations to make a change b) find it a little intimidating and think “am I really able to help?” Maybe it’s about engaging your professionals in a way that lets them know everyday they can be fighting for gender justice and equality in their lives through simple ways. Perhaps it’s about framing the language they use or how they function at work. I think small acts that happen everyday can go a long way.
Sneha is a Young Professional Volunteer with the Board’s Development Committee. She currently works with the Watson Foundation where she is the Program Manager for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She originally hails from San Jose, California and has lived in New York City for 8 years. She holds a B.A in International Relations, French and Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of Redlands and MA in Educational Leadership, Politics and Advocacy from NYU. When she isn’t at work or exploring NYC, she tutors high school students in the South Bronx with another amazing non-profit called the South Bronx United.