Kiran, an organization based in Raleigh, is devoted to ending the cycle of abuse and to serving and empowering South Asian survivors of domestic violence.
The organization works to provide culturally specific services and comprehensive economic, social and community resources to members of the South Asian community. It serves individuals with backgrounds from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“There was no support system for things that were unique about them, immigration issues, language," Executive Director Seema Kak said. "These are very specific to these cultures because it's not something that everyone else here experiences.”
Kiran, which means "ray of light" in Hindi, provides a variety of services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, client advocacy, crisis counseling, safety planning and support groups.
In Kak's experience decades ago, many South Asian women sought help from friends for domestic violence but were hesitant to openly discuss the topic.
“There's a lot of cultural nuances that go along with where these victims and survivors are from,” Kak said. “There is a huge emphasis on not sharing your personal or family happenings with the outside community.”
Kiran began with a small group of women talking about these issues among themselves and expanded into a volunteer-run organization in 1998 as a way to address the growing needs of the South Asian community in the Triangle.
Ritu Kaur, a member of Kiran’s board of directors, played a large role in writing the organization's first grant, which helped them form the board and serve a larger number of people.
“We are able to do this work because we have federal grants, and we have funding because the government also realizes that this work is very important,” Kaur said.