photo:-Jay Mandal/On Assignment

Consulate General of India in New York and Sneh Arts host the event

Our Bureau
New York, NY

The Consulate General of India in New York and Sneh Arts hosted a very special community outreach event for Manavi, a non-profit organization based out of New Jersey. Founded in 1985, Manavi was the first organization in the United States to specifically address the unmet needs of South Asian women affected by violence. Manavi’s objective is to reach out to these women and be an essential resource for them during their time of crisis.

Manavi’s sexual violence service provider & outreach coordinator Nahrin Khan said, ” When it comes to the South Asian culture, it is important to recognize that there is deep rooted patriarchy within many of our communities. For instance, the traditional patriarchal attitude towards women not only contributes to but also maintains that power imbalance. In many instances, women are subjugated, subordinated and subservient, within our communities, and our world view encourages conformity to those traditional fixed gender-based roles creating unhealthy expectations that often lead to violence”.

Sexual assault awareness month (SAAM) is an annual campaign that is observed in April of each year, since 2001. It is to raise public awareness about sexual assault and to help disseminate information in communities to prevent sexual violence as prevention is a big part of this campaign.

Poonam Saxena, Manavi’s mentor, advocate and transitional housing coordinator shared some real-life stories of the victims that and their unfortunate plight. She urged everyone in the audience to be the advocates and join hands with Manavi to support South Asian women.  Violence Prevention is about changing the existing harmful socio-cultural and gender norms that support power imbalance and allow the perpetrators to exercise control over the survivor. Sexual violence prevention is also about learning to protect ourselves and others by knowing the basic concepts of consent and boundaries and these concepts are easier to instill at an early age.

Guests in attendance were appreciative of the informative evening and voiced their desire to see more such community outreach events to take place discussing such important topics. The guest speaker Dr. Sarika Persaud spoke about the healing from the effects of gender-based trauma.  Attendees were treated to soul stirring Classical music and Kathak dance by artists from the Indian Diaspora. Dignitaries from the community, music & dance world graced the occasion to learn more about the grassroots work being done by Manavi and also to enjoy the artistic presentation. The talk was followed by Kathak recital by Shivani Badgi. The evening was closed with a very special Sitar and Flute jugalbandi by Abhik Mukherjee & Jay Gandhi. They were accompanied on tabla by Vivek Pandya.

The Consul General of India in New York Hon. Randhir Jaiswal & Deputy Consul General Dr Varun Jeph, were both present and congratulated the entire organizing team and artsits. They were thrilled to see so many people from the community so enthusiastic to learn more about Manavi and support their mission.

There were countless comments of support & appreciation pouring in during & after the event, not only from the attendees but also from artists that were performing and those who were not able to attend. There was one common thing that was resonating from everyone’s comments which was, they were thrilled to learn about Manavi and its work and wanted to know how they can be of help and support its various activities. The event was supported by our media partners: TV Asia, World BBTV, Radio Zindagi, Divya Bhaskar & The Indian EYE, Jus Punjabi, The South Asia Times, The Indian Panorama, Hum Hindustani & Mera Sangeet.

Manavi provides a unique blend of culturally specific support services and intervention methods through Western advocacy practices and linguistically traditional techniques. With a mission to end all forms of violence against women, Manavi began as an awareness campaign on issues concerning South Asian women; today it continues to centralize women’s needs and interests in all its organizational decisions and service provisions.

Sexual violence is 100% preventable. However, it starts with awareness building and that was the purpose of this event so we can strive to bring this issue into community consciousness and also raise awareness about Manavi’s culturally responsive services to support survivors.

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