Kavita Mehra: Serving Survivors of Violence Within the South Asian Diaspora

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Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi, Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Kavita Mehra, the executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women. Let’s learn how Kavita is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Kavita! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Sakhi for South Asian Women?

Kavita: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Sakhi for South Asian Women exists to represent the South Asian diaspora in a survivor-centered movement for gender justice. We honor the collective and inherent power of all survivors of violence. Sakhi is committed to serving survivors through a combination of efforts including, but not limited to, direct services, advocacy and organizing, technical assistance, and community outreach.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Kavita: The power I have witnessed through my mother, sisters, husband, son, and survivors that we serve in the community.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Kavita: Sakhi creates a system that operates at individual, cultural, and systemic levels to dismantle the root causes of violence. We provide sanctuary and facilitate the healing and liberation that are fundamental for survivors and their children.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?

Kavita: Sakhi has a deep, steadfast commitment to serving survivors within our community, ensuring that they are at the center of our decision making process. To that end, after many years of COVID-19 related delays, we opened our Brooklyn office in August 2023, to be closer to the community.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Kavita—it’s been an honor!

Kavita Mehra first joined Sakhi as an intern in 2002 while in her third year of university. After her experience, she hoped to come back to Sakhi, specifically to lead the organization, and in June 2017 was named its sixth executive director. Under Kavita’s leadership, Sakhi has grown over 580% and has launched a trauma-informed mental health program, a housing program, and a food justice program for survivors in the community. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 30, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and digital curriculum, with the mission to enable over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs.

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