In 1991 a group of seven individuals, two physicians, and five social workers got together to brainstorm ideas about how to help the South Asian community, they were Rusi Alamshaw, Dr.Pratibha Patel, Dr. Sulochana Trivedi, Smita Patel, Chandrabala Alamshaw, Sheila Mehta and Charu Modi.
They had noticed many community members who needed help and social services assistance, but had limited language proficiency and weren’t familiar with the resources available to them. The more they talked about it, the more it dawned on them that they needed to do something about it.
These trailblazers held their first meeting in the kitchen of Chandrabala and Rusi Alamshaw, and there, they decided to create a non-profit organization where no matter who entered the doors, they were helped in whatever capacity they could. In the beginning they created referral lists and resources so people knew where to go. Soon they had a 24hour hotline, that they would take turns being in charge of, so people who needed help could call anytime.
Eventually, in 2003, with the help of a donor and a fundraising event, SAHARA was able to buy a house that would become a Transitional Living Home. During that time, all of SAHARA’s founders had full-time jobs and would volunteer their time to help the South Asian Community.
Today SAHARA’s board members, staff and volunteers continue the work, with the same mission as our founders- to serve survivors of all forms of abuse within the South Asian community in Southern California with culturally sensitive and linguistically specific services.
With the belief that every human being regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, deserves to live a life of dignity and respect.
They were pioneers in their vision, dedicated to their cause and worked tirelessly, and because of them, today, SAHARA can be actively engaged, and march forward to help community members in need.
If you would like to help SAHARA continue its work that started 27 years ago, there are many ways to do that:
If you would like to know more about SAHARA or help us continue to provide these services, please give us a call at 562-402-4132 or contact us.
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