Urmi Basu, Ana Oliveira to be honored at Sakhi 25th anniversary gala in New York

Entertainment by fusion group Red Baraat.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK:  Sakhi for South Asian Women, an advocacy organization dedicated to ending violence against women, will celebrate its 25th anniversary on May 15, at Three Sixtyº in Tribeca, New York City.

Urmi Basu (courtesy of PBS)
Urmi Basu (courtesy of PBS)

“This is a historic moment for Sakhi,” said Tiloma Jayasinghe, Sakhi’s Executive Director, in a press release “While so much has changed over the years, in terms of programs, staff and events, the heart of what we do is still the same: support and empower New York City’s South Asian women to survive and thrive through the challenges of abuse, immigration, family, community and health.”

Founded in 1989 by five women – Anannya Bhattacharjee, Mallika Dutt, Tula Goenka, Geetanjali Misra, and Romita Shetty – Sakhi (meaning “woman friend”) was founded to help to focus specifically on domestic violence against women.

While there were many religious and cultural centers in existence at that time, according to information on the organization’s website, none specifically helped battered women from “Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian Diaspora (including the West Indies and Africa),” so Sakhi was founded to fill that need.

“After 25 years of working with and being an integral part of our community, we at Sakhi know that in order for families to be healthy and happy, violence and oppression must be eliminated at the heart and root of our communities,” says their website. “Our vision of a society without domestic violence lies within the community’s ability to take ownership in the fight to end violence against women.”

The event, which is already sold out and has over 400 confirmed guests attending, will celebrate the theme of “People Who Inspire Us.” Sakhi will feature and honor Urmi Basu of “Half the Sky,” a documentary film which highlights the oppression of women in several under-developed parts of the world. Basu is also the founder of New Light, an organization supporting women and girls in the red-light district of Kolkata.

Sakhi will also honor Ana Oliveira, the president and CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF), at the gala event. According to their website, the NYWF is “a cross-cultural alliance of women catalyzing partnerships and leveraging human and financial capital to achieve sustained economic security and justice for women and girls.”

The event’s emcee with be Joya Dass, best known as an anchor on popular south Asian entertainment program AVS [Asian Variety Show], and as a business anchor on NY1. Fusion group Red Baraat will also perform at the event, as will Moksha Arts, an award-winning dance company run by Punchali Khanna Kumar.

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