It all started in 2011 when three women compassionately pooled together their resources to start Awaaz for South Asian survivors of domestic violence in San Antonio. Based on their previous work with domestic violence, the founders saw a dire need for this service and a service gap that existed amongst the South Asian immigrant men and women in San Antonio. There were a few organizations that provided services to mainstream survivors of Domestic Violence. However, South Asians facing Domestic Violence could not turn to these organizations for help on account of cultural and language barriers. Awaaz was founded to bridge this gap.
Our founders Hema Bhakta, Sakina Sharp, and Tapasi Misra had valuable knowledge and experiences that have contributed to Awaaz’s success. Sakina Sharp was a survivor herself and had years of practice both as a lawyer and community advocate at domestic violence organizations such as Sakhi, Apna Ghar, and Family Violence Prevention Services. Hema Bhakta was a licensed therapist who had trained in crisis management and researched family violence in graduate school. Tapasi Misra had worked with local advocates to spread awareness of domestic violence to San Antonio’s South Asian community through yearly women’s conferences. All three women had either trained or volunteered at Austin’s Saheli (now the Asian Family Support Services of Austin) and had worked with survivors in various capacities and it’s their involvement within the organization that led to their introduction. It was kismet that the three had found each other leading to the birth of Awaaz.
To build a strong and abuse-free community based on compassion, dignity, and respect for the basic human rights of all.
To empower South Asian survivors of domestic violence through culture-specific advocacy and support services and educate the community to break the cycle of abuse.