Narika’s 31st Annual Gala wins big

Narika, the Fremont-based nonprofit that supports South Asian survivors of domestic violence, raised $300,000 at its annual gala on Sunday, September 10th, at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose.  The aptly named Tarang – An Evening of Light and Hope showcased Narika’s efforts to empower survivors with expanded mental health services, bi-lingual therapists, and a brand new transitional home in Alameda County.

“We intentionally expanded the mental health services by creating connections with local bilingual therapists who now regularly offer therapy to the survivors,” said Dixit in her remarks to a sold-out auditorium.

In 2022, Narika supported 600 unique domestic violence (DV) survivors. Over 150 survivors benefited from financial literacy and economic empowerment sessions. Narika also is the only South Asian domestic violence support group for South Asians in Contra Costa County.

New programs include a free, six-week virtual literacy program called Saphal (successful) to help parents and caregivers learn and heal. It will cover topics such as Understanding the Developing Brain, Emotional Regulation, Self-Compassion, Boundaries, and Praise and Apology.

A movie about DV

Rashmi Rustagi, an actor, writer, and producer, introduced her upcoming feature film on domestic violence, ‘Designed by Preeti.’

“I represent the fifty-plus age group of women from India who had conventional arranged marriages and then came to the U.S. I raised my children in Palo Alto and saw first-hand domestic violence undercurrents amongst my friends. Many have continued to put up with it well into their middle ages,” said Rustagi. She previously produced Unborn about the practice of female fetus abortion in South Asian communities in the U.S. 

Her movie script, director, and producer are in place, added Rustagi who is preparing to audition her cast.

“Domestic violence is rampant in our community and even within the conventionally successful circles in Silicon Valley. My movie is about a woman’s journey from abuse to empowerment. Many more Indian women are embracing psychotherapy and rejecting entrenched societal norms of the importance of a boy-child to carry on a family name or accepting violence at home from a successful man.” 

Lady Sri Ram Alumnae Show Support For Narika

Alumnae from Delhi’s Lady Sri Ram (LSR) College for Women were out in full support at the gala.

“We really believe in the mission of Narika. As an alumna of an all-women college from New Delhi, …we believe in supporting and empowering women,” said LSR alumna Nimisha Garg.

The group has supported Narika individually, and together, a few years ago, raised about $5000 in funds. Sajeena Warrier, an LSR alumna and Treasurer of Narika’s Board of Directors has been instrumental in coordinating the effort.

“Our college is known to be an advocate of women’s causes. The solidarity towards Narika comes easily and naturally,” said Ranjita Roy, another LSR alumna. “We are here to keep up the tradition of supporting Narika’s work and further raise the bar of funding.

Shalini Kathuria Narang is a Silicon Valley based software professional and freelance journalist. She has written and published extensively for several national and international newspapers, magazines...