DAYA Raises One Voice
While some celebrate fall with fashion and style others also welcome this wonderful weather by spreading awareness. This is the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and DAYA in collaboration with Houston Police Department raised One Voice Against Domestic Violence here on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at Hilcroft.
Every culture teaches us to be more tolerant with good family values and often that is misinterpreted as tolerating injustice or violent behavior by giving excuses such as “He/She was upset or stressed.” “There is never a good excuse to be violent towards another human being. It’s not just OK,” says former President/Founder of DAYA Houston Lakshmy Parameswaran.
A few determined women who recognized the need for a structured, culture-sensitive avenue of help for South-Asian families in the Houston area founded DAYA, a non-profit organization in the mid 90s.
DAYA promotes healthy family relationships in the South-Asian community by providing services that include counseling, referrals, legal advocacy, and financial support to women and children affected by family violence and sexual assault. Daya also promotes awareness on topics relevant to the welfare of South-Asian families through educational seminars, publications, and outreach programs.
More than 150 people gathered for this day long awareness event. The idea was to inform people about such serious issues under a very relaxed and fun ambiance. A Human chain was formed while DJ AV mixed some bhangra hits. The aroma of spicy Indian delights made it a perfect family day. Supporting the cause and a good friend to the South-Asian community Officer Muzaffar Siddiqi was very encouraging and an enthusiastic participant of the event along with his children.
The highlight of the afternoon was to speak to some volunteers who have personally been a victim of domestic violence and with the help and support of DAYA have now made a difference. It was an absolute honor and thrill to speak to Dia (name changed) who was present there supporting the cause. “I have personally been a victim of domestic violence and know first hand that how much I used to be scared and give excuses for his abusive behavior and now when I am out of that environment I realize that life is so beautiful and I might have to struggle but it is worth it,” she explains.
Photos by Roswitha Vogler [photosbyrovo.com]
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