October Newsletter

Page 1

ICC Newsletter

October 2011

Volume 5.0




India Community Center of Austin

Message from the 2011 ICC Board

Namaste, Austin! The leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler and before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us. Celebration is already in the air, with Navratri and Durga Puja just gone by in a whirl of festivity, and Diwali around the corner, ushering in the promise of light and joy. It’s a time for renewal and change for us as well. As we near the end of the year, we are accepting nominations for open positions on the ICC board for 2012-13. If you are interested, please send us an email at iccaustin@gmail.com. We would love to have you join the board and enrich our future endeavors with your ideas, efforts and participation. - Abdul, Harshita, Mary, Radhika, Raga, Ruhi, Salil, Sohail, and Sridhar


Each month, Parichay turns the spotlight on Indian community, organizations or non-profits that enrich Austin with their presence. .

Pratham Pratham is a grassroots level non-profit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children in India with preschool and early education. It is committed to bringing about large scale change through education, based on a simple yet powerful goal of “Every child in school and learning well”. Pratham is making this happen by partnering with the government, municipal districts, corporations, and foundations worldwide. Thanks to support of its world-wide donor base, Pratham is slowly but surely transforming the slum communities, villages, urban landscape, and entire districts, at present in various states of India. Pratham USA (www.prathamusa.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a four-star rating (the highest possible) from Charity Navigator, accepts tax deductible contributions from its global donors and from grants through established charities like Hewlett, Bill & Melinda and Michael & Susan Dell foundations.

Support Pratham at the Gala Pratham is hosting its Austin Gala on Saturday November 12th, 2011 at St David’s Episcopal church starting at 6:30pm. Please see the gala flier below. We have a wonderful evening planned with Vinay Bhagat, Co-Founder of Convio, as our Keynote speaker, and musical performances by critically acclaimed artists Sangeet Millennium and Kiran Ahluwalia. For individual tickets, the cost is $50 and includes cocktails, dinner, and the musical performances or $30 for cocktails and dinner and can be purchased at www.prathamusa.tix.com. Please forward this on to your network and advise us on other potential donors in the region we should connect with. Contact Ashish Gupta at agupta1120@yahoo.com and visit www.prathamusa.org for any additional details about the organization, the upcoming gala, or related matters.


Each month, Parichay turns the spotlight on Indian community, organizations or non-profits that enrich Austin with their presence.

SAHELI SAHELI is a non-profit agency based in Austin, Texas. SAHELI’s main purpose is to assist and empower victims and survivors of domestic abuse, improve their access to services and increase community awareness on various forms of violence and oppression. Six words help to articulate our mission: Support, Advocate, Heal, Empower, Listen, and Inform. SAHELI was the first organization in central Texas to specialize on the issues of domestic violence in the underserved Asian communities and we are presently the only organization of this kind in the Central Texas area who addresses culturally and linguistically specific needs of victims. SAHELI first opened its doors for service as a volunteer-ran agency for Indian women in 1992. SAHELI then became incorporated as a 501c(3) and expanded programs to serve the Pan-Asian community. Since 2007 our organization has been supported financially by Federal and State grants as well as through private donors. Currently our staff includes an Executive Director, a Family Advocate, three Community Resource Advocates, a Community Educator, a Self-Sufficiency Specialist, a Volunteer coordinator and a part-time Program Assistant. For over 19 years, SAHELI has worked to empower survivors of abuse, raise awareness of the importance of healthy relationships and mobilize different Asian communities to address domestic violence in a manner that culturally resonates. Through three main programs (the Survivor Assistance & Empowerment Program, the Economic Empowerment Program, and the Community Education & Outreach Program) SAHELI provides a confidential helpline; culture specific counseling; crisis intervention; legal advocacy; economic empowerment and long-term support services for clients such as housing, employment or education; culturally and linguistically specific community education and outreach; interpretation; and systems advocacy and training for allies and partners in addressing best practices when interacting with Asian and other immigrant communities. Services are provided through the coordination of culturally specific advocates and interpreters who become a conduit between linguistically isolated individuals and critical services.Despite the increasing number of Asians in the Central Texas area, Asian domestic violence victims are highly underserved. Asian families face many barriers to seeking help that are in addition to those faced by all victims of domestic violence. They face extreme social, cultural and linguistic isolation. Their situation is further compounded by other complications, such as financial barriers, fear or apprehension about law enforcement and the legal system, cultural norms and taboos and limited social welfare options. SAHELI serves the Asian population in the Central Texas Area, which includes Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties. The most recent census information estimates that the Asian population in central Texas is over 74,992 or approximately 5.4% of the overall Central Texas population. Travis County currently has an Asian population of 52,105 (5.3% of the population) and Williamson County has an Asian population of 11,879 people (3.3% of the population). SAHELI clients trace their origins to a multitude of pan-Asian countries including but not limited to Afghanistan, Burma, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, North and South Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. To find out more or volunteer with SAHELI please visit us at www.saheli-austin.org. We can be reached at our confidential Hotline and Helpline numbers.

Would you like Parichay to feature your organization in the next edition? Please contact us at iccaustin@gmail.com .



Diwali or Deepavali Festival of Lights In 2011 Diwali falls on October 26th. Deepavali means row of lights. The story behind Deepavali and the manner that is celebrated varies from region to region from community to community but the essence is the same to commemorate the victory of good vs. evil; to rejoice the inner light/strength. The people exchange gifts, wear new clothes, spend time with family and friends, and also offer prayers to the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. Deepavali is associated with fireworks and with people lighting up diyas or deepas (small clay lamps) and candles around their houses.

Halloween Halloween is celebrated by wearing costumes, going trick or treating, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted houses/places, apple bobbing, telling scary stories and attending parties. Some historians say that Halloween can be traced to ancient Rome’s feast of Ponoma the goddess of fruits and seeds. However, Halloween, is typically linked to the Celtic celebrations marking the end of the growing season and heralding the coming of winter and folkloric tales about when the veil between the living and the dead would lift and ghosts and ghouls would walk amongst the living. Halloween, is a blending of different traditions: Romans, Celts, Catholics and others. The name Halloween had its origins in the 16th century: All-Hallows-Even (evening) which means the night before All Hallows Day (All Saints Day).


ICC Austin ICC Board member elections for 2012 are coming up toward the end of the year. It is time to get a new team to take leadership for 2012-13, as we have some open positions on the board. We are looking for enthusiastic members to submit their nominations for the ICC Board team in 2012. If you have volunteered with ICC or other similar organizations, please do include that information as well. Please send your email nominations or any questions to iccaustin@gmail.com.

Sambandha Relationship Q&A Jasbina Ahluwalia is an Indian-American Attorney turned Entrepreneur, Relationship Expert, Radio Show Host and Matchmaker / Dating Coach. She is the Founder of Intersections Match, the only Elite National Personalized Matchmaking & Dating Coaching Firm in the country for South Asian Singles. Jasbina is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show featuring conversations with published authors/ experts on relationships and health and wellness. For more information, please visit www.IntersectionsMatch.com. Feel free to submit a Question to be considered for this column to Jasbina directly at Jasbina@IntersectionsMatch.com.


Q: When will love happen? I'm fortunate to have a great family, good friends, and a successful career. I feel like I'm in a good place, except that I'm missing a partner with whom I can share my life. While my parents would like me to be proactive in searching for a mate, I hear from others that I'll eventually meet my special someone. What do you think? A: If you felt something missing in any other arena of your life, would you just sit back and wait for it to happen, or be proactive? Is your love life any less worthy of your time and energy? As a first step, look internally before looking externally. Identify your must-haves and deal-breakers. Differentiate between essential needs on the one hand, and non-essential wants/preferences on the other. Critically evaluate the underlying basis of each need: - Past relationships or experiences - Values, priorities - Others' expectations, and/or stereotypes? Given each need likely narrows your pool of potentials, make sure each need is truly essential (so you do not risk missing out on potential partners with whom you could very well be happy). Do the same for your deal-breakers. While this self-evaluative process may seem involved, it will likely save you time, energy, and heartbreak, in the future. Then it's time to look externally: - Have you told everyone in your life that you'd be happy to meet any good eligible singles? - Apart from one-on-one introductions, having a party with friends where all the guests show up with a platonic friend/ex is a great way to expand your universe of potentials. - Are you going to singles events, or participating in activities that are likely to have singles in attendance? - Are you dating online? Is your online search effective or half-hearted? - If you are posting a photo, is it an accurate representation of the best version of yourself? - Is your profile thoughtful and inviting? - Are you meeting potentials in-person instead of getting caught up in endless email/phone/text communications? - Are you making snap judgments on first dates, or truly allowing yourself to get to know your date with an openminded mindset? - Have you considered hiring a matchmaker/dating coach if your time is limited and you'd like to be as strategic as possible? As in all other areas of life, endeavor to align your actions and efforts with your values and goals. If you truly place a high value on your love life, take action accordingly.

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