A woman heads an organization to help victims of domestic violence

CHICAGO — Arshia Hasnain was raised to give back to her community, and she volunteers often.

But after stories of domestic violence began to surface in her community, she decided to create an organization to help and support survivors of domestic violence.

She is on a mission to break the cycle of domestic violence.

“You keep thinking to yourself, how can you help? How can you help?” – said Hasnain.

Hasnain, who grew up in Hong Kong, has been involved in social work and activism for at least 20 years, helping victims of domestic violence.

As a founding member of NFP Women’s Empowermentthe nonprofit volunteer organization provides resources for survivors, especially immigrant women who are often neglected by the system.

Her group provides immediate shelter and counseling services to those in need now and in the long term.

“A lot of women, I go back to immigrants, they don’t know what their rights are,” she said. “They don’t know the language, so we help them navigate.”

Fara Chalisa is a volunteer lawyer working on women’s empowerment. She says many do not have a clear understanding of their legal rights in a domestic violence situation while they are here on a visa.

“We provide them with immediate legal help, resources to go to and just answer their questions, just make them feel comfortable and supported and let them know there is help,” Chalisa said.

In just two and a half years, Hasnain said, the organization has served about 3,000 women, many of whom were referred through a partnership with the Chicago Police Department. This includes the 24th District in Rogers Park.

In October, Hasnain’s team tied ribbons at the Rogers Park station as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

But this is only one of the things they do to make their presence in the community during the year. They also organize food drives and a global 5km walk and fundraiser.

There is also on-the-job training, including a 12-week sewing course.

The organization continues to grow, and it encourages everyone to do their part to break the cycle of violence.


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