A woman leads an organization that helps victims of domestic violence

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

But after stories of domestic violence began to surface within her community, she decided to start an organization to reach out and support survivors of domestic violence.

Her mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence.

“You always think of yourself, how can you help? How can you help? Hasnain said.

Growing up in Hong Kong, Hasnain spent at least 20 years in social work and activism to help victims of domestic violence.

As a founding member of NFP women empowermentthe voluntary, nonprofit organization provides resources for survivors, especially immigrant women who are often overlooked by the system.

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

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

Farah 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 on visa.

“We provide them with immediate legal help, resources, where to turn and just answer their questions, just put them at ease and support and let them know there is help out there” , said Chalisa.

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 Precinct of Rogers Park.

Hasnain’s team tied ribbons at Rogers Park station for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

But that’s just one of the things they do to make their presence known in the community throughout the year. They also organize food drives and a global 5k walk and fundraiser.

There is also vocational training, including a 12-week sewing course.

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

Aubrey L. Morgan