Manavi was founded in 1985 by a group of six South Asian women:
Radha Sharma Hegde
Shamita Das Dasgupta
It started as a consciousness raising group interested in addressing concerns faced by South Asian women in the U.S. However, Manavi soon expanded its goals in response to requests from the community to begin providing services to women facing violent situations.
Manavi was the first organization in the U.S to specifically address the unmet needs of South Asian women victims of violence. Initially conceptualized as a consciousness-raising group, Manavi’s founders soon realized that South Asian women facing abuse were unable to access critical services from mainstream domestic violence organizations in the U.S owing to cultural, linguistic and immigration related barriers, among many others.
Since its inception several other South Asian organizations have been formed in the U.S. along similar lines . Today, Manavi continues to be a pioneer in advancing the South Asian women’s movement in the U.S by championing new strategies and constantly adapting the advocacy strategies and service provision to the changing needs of South Asian women living in the U.S.
As a direct service provider, a social change agent within the South Asian community, and a diversity trainer in the mainstream movement to end violence against women in the U.S., Manavi simultaneously addresses both the immediate needs of women facing abuse and the long-term vision of establishing peaceful communities free from gender-based violence.