Sakhi developed our Youth Empowerment (YE) Program to disrupt the cycle of inter-generational gender-based discrimination to empower and work with girls to promote gender equity and help eliminate their vulnerability to violence. Our YE Program seeks to prevent violence by addressing the needs and mitigating risk factors of South Asian girls, often from low-income backgrounds, who have witnessed or experienced gender-based violence in their homes. Our program gives the daughters of Sakhi clients a safe space to freely discuss and explore issues around healthy relationships, positive sexuality, and gender, while also empowering them with financial literacy skills with the ultimate goal to break the cycle of violence they grew up observing.
The YE program officially launched in August 2016 with a Sakhi Summer Camp which consisted of a variety of workshops. Sakhi had developed a curriculum that covers a variety of topics including leadership skills, bullying, body image, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and sexuality and can be adapted accordingly to age groups of attendees. Our upcoming YE groups are held in a series of workshops throughout the year – Summer, Fall, and Spring. The Summer session will be shorter lasting 8 weeks while Fall and Spring sessions will be 10 weeks or more. Workshops during these sessions cover content based on an age and developmentally appropriate approach. At this time, our current programs serve young girls from 7 to 12 years old, and young women from 13 to 18 years old. Currently, Sakhi is also partnering with the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault to provide our young women and gender-fluid youth ages 13 to 18 with a leadership initiative based on creating community dialogue around sexual assault. As the YE program continues to grow, we hope to implement other opportunities such as mentorship programs for our older participants to offer our younger members.