Engaging with men to create peaceful homes in the South Asian community
Aqsa Zareen Farooqui of Raksha leads a community meeting to brainstorm creative solutions to domestic violence.
The Engaging Men Chai Houses are a long-term dream for the Raksha community. For a long time, Raksha has worked progressively with the community at large to find an effective solution to domestic violence. Raksha’s mission is Opening Doors to a Stronger, Healthier South Asian Community and the Chai Houses are one of the most courageous steps towards that dream.
On August 18th, 2012 eight South Asians in Atlanta came together for one purpose: to walk the talk by actively participating in moving towards a community free of domestic violence. Samosas and hot chai was delivered by Ashiana for all the guests. Participants were Rafiq Batcha, Namrata Dewan, Sudeep Dewan, Ruksana Hussain, Rita Kapahi, Mini Mehta, Phalguni Pandey, and Sunny Sachdeva. All had chosen to discuss their opinions openly to find creative solutions.
Aqsa Zareen Farooqui, Director of Programs at Raksha, described her journey with Raksha in the past eleven years and voiced her frustration about her inability to find a clear answer to this problem and therefore choosing to turn to her community for the answers.
The audience responded wholeheartedly. Domestic violence was defined and its long-term effects on the family, business, and society were presented, as well as personal experiences of responding as a bystander. Many people voiced their concerns about losing a relationship due to speaking up, and about domestic violence being seen as a family problem, not a community issue. Participants brainstormed on effective ways to respond to domestic violence and on finding loving and nonjudgmental ways to bring a change in consciousness of the ‘perpetrator.’ The group departed on an enthusiastic note.
For two hours, this small segment of the large South Asian community in Atlanta came together to do something for the greater good. The Raksha staff and volunteers are grateful for their time, effort, and energy. Two workshops every month are planned. To attend the next Chai House or to find out more about being a part of the Walking the Talk movement, please call Raksha at 404-876-0670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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