Bay Area non-profit Narika has been active in supporting victims of domestic violence in the Bay Area for several years (see our previous coverage here). After a few years acting as advocates for battered women, the volunteers at Narika found that there was a need to help such victims develop life skills and resources that would enable them to achieve not just emotional but financial independence so they could embark on their future with some degree of self confidence – and so the SEED program was born.
“The objective is to extend the Narika brand,” says Shama Pagarkar, a long time Narika volunteer. “Our outreach needs to go beyond advocacy issues towards educating women. Also, despite being based in the Bay Area and serving the needs of the entire population, we don’t have much of a presence in the South Bay.”
To address these objectives, Narika is putting together an intriguing conference called Rejuvenate: Mind Body Spirit on March 21st at the India Community Center in Milpitas. A distinguished panel of presenters has been invited to speak on wide range of subjects that affect our everyday lives. Speakers will provide information, share their own experiences and answer questions from guests.
“Our target audience is educated women,” adds Shama, who is also the chair of the conference planning committee. “The idea is to create a holistic base for women’s issues.”
The conference is divided into three sections. The first, titled “Apna Sapna Money Money”, talks about various aspects of personal finance. “Even educated women are very intimidated by finance,” says Sutapa, a Narika advocate and program manager for the SEED program. “They may be making handsome salaries but they are likely to hand it over to their husbands to manage.” The panel discussion in this section will focus on the basic terminology of finance, the mental blocks when dealing with money and will feature financial planner Saadia Ahmed and Christine Parlour, an associate professor of finance at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
The second section, termed “Dil Chahta Hai” talks about the opportunities women have to follow their bliss and get engaged in activities outside the rat race. Artist Tanya Momi, Jagadha Sivan from the World of Good and yours truly make up this panel and we will talk about what it feels like to be out of the rat race and doing what we love.
The third workshop, called “Sundar Hoon Aisi Mein“, touches on a facet of life that women ignore or take for granted while they are busy looking after their families – their own emotional, physical and sexual needs. Fitness trainer Shobha Reddy will join counselor Naheed Shaikh and sex education expert Catherine Toyooka to talk about how and why women should feel comfortable with their bodies and treat themselves with respect.
The conference ends with a talk by Fremont Councilwoman Anu Natarajan on encouraging women to give back to their community – whether via community service, volunteerism or pursuing a career in public service. She will talk about how women can have an impact in the communities where they live.
Rejuvenate – Mind, Body and Spirit is Narika’s first annual conference of its kind. It fills a much-neglected need for women to reach out and support each others’ endeavors while daring to explore their own needs and life goals. Tickets for the event are $15 and include breakfast, lunch and childcare ( for children 2-12 yrs). Tickets are available at http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=173462 or by calling Narika at 510 444 6068. Buy your tickets today.