"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Harriet Tubman


We felt the truth of Harriet Tubman’s statement this last week. Meena (not her real name, of course) who recently graduated from SAHARA’s Transitional Living Home (TLH), has been working for many months to solve her immigration status challenges. Before she escaped her abusive home, her husband controlled her legal status – and every action she took. She was not allowed to leave the house, speak to anyone, sometimes not even allowed to eat.
Once she escaped, she came to SAHARA for safe, confidential, and culturally-specific housing and help. SAHARA staff told her about VAWA* but it was months before Meena could even imagine hope for a better future, then a while longer to build the courage and determination to see the opportunity in VAWA. It is a long, slow process, requiring lots of due diligence, documentation that proves eligibility, interviews, and waiting. But when she finally decided she really wanted that future, she set to it with that strength and patience.
Last Wednesday, our Shelter Director went with Meena and her attorney from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, to Meena’s green card interview. The call to our office from Meena was frantic and tearful and our Social Worker was instantly concerned – but the tears were joyful. Her green card was approved – in a much shorter time than expected. Meena was crying, our Shelter Director was crying, the attorney was crying – even the interviewer was crying. It was a Moment. Patience and strength toward a goal you’re passionate about. 

*VAWA is a means for battered and abused spouses (and certain parents and children) to obtain a green card without the cooperation of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative who is abusing them. Despite being authorized by the  Violence Against Women Act , men and women may both self-petition.
Check out our New Website!

The new SaharaCares.org is designed to provide all visitors with important and vital information. We invite you to visit and enjoy our new site.

A few new website features and highlights we're proud of includes:

Womxn Of Color + Wellness:
Be seen, Be heard, Be empowered

A Huge Thank You to Womxn of Color + Wellness organizers Purvee Patel and Anusha Wijeyakumar of Shanti Within for their imagination and generosity.

On February 25 th , SAHARA was chosen as the charity of choice – donating to SAHARA 10% of their ticket sales for the Womxn of Color “WOC + Wellness” event in Fullerton.
 “WOC + Wellness” is a platform and community created to decolonize wellness. This is a movement created to dismantle the elitism, inaccessibility and lack of diversity in wellness. Representation matters. We foster inclusivity through our events so all voices can be heard. Payal Sawhney, LCSW, spoke on Seva and Self-Care (Lifestyle).

SAHARA Smiles During 2019-2020!

WOC+Wellness' Purvee Patel giving a donation to SAHARA staff members.

In January, the L.A. County Shelter
Directors held their monthly meeting at SAHARA. A powerfully passionate and knowledgeable group.
SAHARA’s Annual Holiday Party always makes us smile.

On Dec. 13 SAHARA had its Annual Holiday Party for clients and families. This year the party was held at Wok n’ Tandoor in Artesia with toy donations from Asian Pacific American (APA) Community Holiday Toy Drive and by DPSS’ Spark of Love Campaign. 

Happy to be part of the solution for survivors of abuse.
Happy Black History Month from all of us at SAHARA. Take time to celebrate, learn and show solidarity this month. 

For support on how to get started on this list, reach out to us or call (562) 402-4132.
SAHARA Soul Stories

I am from India and got married in 2016. Before my marriage, I had a wonderful life; I was surrounded with so much love. About a year after, I got my visa and moved to the US. Once in California, my whole life changed. My husband and in-laws treated me so badly, I was expected to wake up in the morning and do housework until it was time to sleep. Throughout the day, they would beat me and pull my hair. Many times, my husband tried to choke me and dragged me across the room, he also sexually assaulted me on numerous occasions. They wouldn't give me food to eat, and some nights, I would fall asleep hungry. I was locked inside the house and had no access to a phone. 

One day my mother and father in law were out of town, and my husband was at work. As I was clearing the dishes from the table, I noticed that the front door was unlocked. The rest of the family members were upstairs; I quietly walked towards the door and ran outside. I ran to one neighbor's house and begged them to let me call the police; they refused and told me to leave. I then started running down the street and saw a man getting into his car and asked if he could help. He took me to the nearest police station; from there, I called my Uncle, and he took me to SAHARA. 

I stayed at SAHARA's shelter and got so much support. The senior social worker helped me make short and long-term goals. The shelter coordinator had numerous meetings with me to make sure I was on track with my goals. When I first came to the shelter, I was scared to take the bus, and for a month, I walked everywhere. They kept encouraging me, and I learned how to take the bus from one place to another and started working at a restaurant. Being at the shelter and working with the people at SAHARA, I learned to stay focused on my goals. Today I have passed the written test to get my driver's license, and SAHARA is also paying for half of my classes to learn driving. I feel more in control now, and I am excited about what the future holds for me. I am still working on my immigration status, but I know that I will get that too. I feel so confident and I know I can achieve my goals. Thank you, SAHARA! 

Meet Farhana Shahid

Farhana is our Covered California Enrollment Specialist. She has been helping the community enroll in Covered California since 2013! Here she is out and about in the community! If you would like to enroll or just want information call Farhana at 562-402-4132.

If you appreciate SAHARA's work and want us to continue
with it, there are many ways you can help!

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 (562) 402-4132