EDISON, NJ – Manavi’s Annual Fundraising Dinner draws hundreds to raise awareness on domestic violence at Akbar Restaurant on Saturday. The Annual Dinner brought together Manavi survivors, volunteers staff and supporters for an evening of gratification, accomplishment and reflection.

The focus of the dinner is to bring the community together and reaffirm its commitment to end domestic violence against South Asian Women. With well over 300 guests in attendance, this was the largest turnout in Manavi’s 29 year history.

“Our community members are truly ambassadors and in this forum it is specifically designed so the word gets out, we are here, we are here to support and fight for the cause,” said Shruti Devi, Board of Directors member.  “I’m looking at our community members to become ambassadors. We want to educate the public and its not just women; it’s about men too. More and more focus is going to educating men and boys.”

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Key note speaker for the evening was Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, serving Legislative District 17. Assemblyman Chivukula has the unique distinction of being the first Indian American elected to the New Jersey General Assembly.

"It is important to understand violence against women and well as domestic violence that is prevalent in the South Asian community.” said Assemblymen Chivukula. “The numbers show that 1 out of 4 women are victims of domestic violence and we need to educate the people and sensitize them so this type of violence can be prevented over a period of time.”

Two current survivors stepped up to the podium and shared their personal experiences with domestic violence. Both courageous survivors talked about their struggle to overcome the fear, guilt, shame and emotional upheaval of domestic violence. They thanked Manavi for helping them discover their inner strengths in a safe, secure and supportive environment. The audience was touched by their stories and generously applauded with standing ovations.

In order to help victims like the two survivors that spoke on domestic violence,  Manavi established, Ashiana (meaning “Nest” in Urdu), a temporary living facility for South Asian victims of domestic violence who need a safe place to go.

In 2013, 16 women resided in Ashiana for a period 1601 totaling days. Seven children also resided with their mothers for a total of 629 days; bringing the total number of residents to 23 and the total days of residency to 2230.

The services offered by Manavi emerged organizationally, as the organization endeavored to meet the needs of the women who sought assistance during crises.

Currently Manavi offers the following services:

• Culture specific counseling (Project Sabala)
• Crisis intervention and advocacy (Project Raahat)
• Women’s support group
• Legal clinic and referrals (Project Insaaf)
• Immigration relief and gender asylum (Project Zamin)
• Interpreter services
• Transportation
• Court/medical accompaniment
• Safe home (Project Ashiana)
• Outreach and education (Project (Rokeya)

For more detail information about organization please visit Manavi