In 2009, ASHA began offering counseling services via telephone. Sakhi means “friend” in Hindi.
Women’s empowerment has been recognised as one of the best strategies for the prevention of violence and assertion of rights. The Sakhi Helpline is an innovative effort to curtail violence and lead women toward empowerment through emotional & social support. Here are the key features of the Helpline:
Ease of Access/Secrecy: Women living with an abusive family member need not worry about arranging travel to a resource center. Access via phone ensures a much higher likelihood of the woman making contact without risk of the abusive party finding out.
Anonymity: The Help Line allows women complete anonymity; the fear of the woman’s personal information and experiences being made public is removed.
Preventative: The combination of anonymity and ease of access increases the likelihood that a woman will call when the issue is still “small”, before it has become a seemingly insurmountable problem. Hence the strategy is preventive in nature.
Relevance: The woman does not have to run from pillar to post for help. The Help Line is staffed by skilled people and supported by a knowledgeable network. She therefore receives the most relevant resources for help.
360 degree support: The Helpline provides support around all aspects of the problem: legal, psychological, sexual, relational, financial. Additionally, it informs her of her human rights and responsibilities.
Continued support: The counselling is designed to build confidence in the woman. Resolution is often reached only after repeated, planned tele-counselling sessions.
Our Sakhi Helpline receives an average of 300 calls each year.