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Asians Against Domestic Violence (AADA) was founded in 2001 by four women who were heavily involved in volunteer social work: Shantha Raghuthaman, Salma Siddiqi, and Rehana Sarwar and Swapna Chaudhary. Their volunteer experiences were the driving forces behind the formation of AADA. For example, Ms. Chaudhary’s passion to help victimized women stemmed from her own family tragedy, in which one of her immediate family members died as a result of domestic violence in India. As previous volunteers with the Houston Area Women’s Center and other domestic abuse organizations, the women noticed inquiry calls would come in, but often there was no one qualified to communicate effectively and compassionately to assist victimized Asian women with limited English speaking skills.
The four women formed the first AADA Board of Directors and set up the non-profit agency to fill a void of culturally and linguistically appropriate care for women and children suffering from domestic abuse in the Greater Houston area. The mission of AADA is “to prevent violence against women and to promote healthy family relations within the different Asian communities in the Greater Houston area, through direct client services, support systems, community empowerment, public awareness, and collaboration with organizations sharing similar goals.” The group originally held meetings in their homes and later at the San Jacinto Girl Scout building. Luncheon fundraisers recruited volunteers and promoted agency awareness. AADA’s initial focus was to disseminate community information about domestic abuse in the Asian American community through booth participation in cultural events, collaboration with mainstream shelters, and workshops and seminars for nurses, social workers, and shelter volunteers.
Many distinguished public figures and human rights activists support the efforts of the AADA to provide justice, including The City of Houston, Fort Bend County, and Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee’s office..