This numerical “snapshot” is of the amazing work being done by the San Francisco Bay Area non-profit Maitri. It was founded in 1991 by a group of Indian women in response to the problem of domestic violence; the women affected needed somewhere to call for information, get referrals to mainstream agencies and find informal peer-counseling.
For more than two decades, this frugal, volunteer-driven organization, “seeks to foster self-reliance and self-confidence in South Asian women and their children who have been impacted by domestic violence, human trafficking, family conflict, and cultural isolation, by helping women learn how to help themselves,” states their mission.
Maitri’s volunteers speak over 11 languages– reflecting the diversity of families in need who come from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries.
However, in addition to doing good, the Maitri crew also knows how to have a good time! In February 2014, they hosted their Annual Gala and silent auction at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where they raised over $500,000, notes the San Jose Mercury News.
More than 400 of the South Asian elite from Silicon Valley attended the sold-out event, a glittery gathering of power players.
Consul General Mr. Parthasarthi, who is currently writing a book on domestic violence, applauded the community for its large turnout at the event. Their dancing feet deserve a mention, too, as everyone present piled onto the dance floor to enjoy a rousing performance by Jeffrey Iqbal.
And they certainly deserved to cut loose a bit, having participated in making the event such a success! For example: S. Suresh, Senior Executive at Informatica, made a generous $100,000 donation, Isharya donated earrings, a bracelet and ring, proceeds were donated from the sale of Pria Kataaria Puri’s elegant couture creations, and Bindiya Khanna’s eclectic collection of contemporary paintings.
The funds will go toward the direct grants and empowerment programs that Maitri funds and runs, including:
-Transitional Housing Program
-Legal Advocacy Program
-Economic Empowerment Program
-Culturally Competent Trainings
-Education and Emergency Shelter Referrals
“Going forward, we need to move a step closer to prevention of domestic violence,” noted Maitri board member Vinita Gupta, a Valley entrepreneur, “and Maitri provides the platform to start this conversation.” Indeed they do with their 19-bed transition home, started in 2009, to address one of the biggest needs of victims of abuse: an affordable place to life while transitioning to a new life.
Retraining is also a key part of being able to enter the workforce and return to a life of productivity. The “Maitri Village Boutique” was made possible via a two-year Fund-a-need initiative led by Maitri’s Co-Chair Shamik Mehta and board member Noreen Raza, and “will teach women to re-enter the workforce and get back on their feet.” And Maitri’s leader and board member Dr. Mukta Sharangpani concluded the remarks by urging everyone present (which now includes you!), “to become agents of social change.”
If you missed the February gala, visit Maitri.org to check out their upcoming events.
Here’s to giving!