New source of solace for the disadvantaged

Economic prosperity and social progress are always counterbalanced by segments that either subsist under poverty or survive as victims of abuse and misuse at work and home.

Family violence is a growing problem in most parts of the world. New Zealand is no exception and is not immune to abuse of women and children.

While women and elders from Asian communities are being subject to verbal, physical and mental abuse, they are often silenced either by their spouses or prefer to suffer in silence for fear of deportation or similar counteroffensive measures.

However, the single most important factor that has contributed to their silence is their inability to share their agony with government agencies and non-governmental organisations in a manner that will be understood.

Several organisations have, in the past few years, done their best to address such issues and offer appropriate counselling.

Among them is the ‘Safer Aotearora Family Violence Prevention Network (SAFPN), often called ‘South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network,’ because of its location in Papatoetoe.

Sahaayta to rescue

In a bid to provide culturally appropriate counselling services and perhaps ensure justice to the disadvantaged, Sucharita Verma and Zoya Salim Kara have combined their expertise and experience to establish ‘Sahaayta,’

They said that the new Organisation, located near the Manukau City Centre (Level 1, 6/6 Osterley Way), aims to serve and meet the growing needs of the South Asian community in Auckland.

“Our team of qualified counsellors and volunteers will provide holistic, confidential, culturally appropriate counselling and support services for individuals, couples, families, youth, children and seniors,” Ms Verma said.

According to Ms Kara, Sahaayta will strengthen the success achieved by SAFVPN, which in the past year had served at least 250 South Asian families.

“Sahaayata aims to take our vision to uplift the status, health and wellbeing of South Asians. Whilst we work with all cultures, genders and religions, Sahaayta’s primary focus will continue to be the safety and well-being of South-Asian migrant and refugee families,” she said.

At the core of the new Organisation would be diverse communities (predominantly Indian, Fiji-Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan) who bring with them varied issues related to family violence, migration and relocation.

“They often experience grief and loss, anger, low self-esteem, relationship conflicts, stress, anxiety, depression, abuse and trauma to name a few. Sahaayta will provide culturally-sensitive counselling and support services in Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi and English. Periodical seminars and workshops covering a number of topics including Anger Management will be among our activities,” Ms Verma said.

For more information on membership, donations and other details, please call (09) 2804064. Email: info@sahaayta.org.nz; Website at www.sahaayta.org.nz

Photo Caption: Sucharita Verma and Zoya Salim Kara

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