By Nina Kalirai
Whether you’re a newly immigrated member of the South Asian community, or someone simply looking for resources within the community, these organizations will be sure to help you in various aspects of life.
1. SAPNA Toronto
SAPNA Toronto is an organization that focuses on increasing the professional presence of South Asians within Toronto and the GTA. The organization connects community members through their interactive network mixers, knowledge based workshops and spotlights from professionals who are living their dreams. SAPNA Toronto is pretty credible; having had many young, successful South Asians at their workshops, such as Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, as well as Jasmeet Sidhu who was named as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 and was featured on their spotlight. The organization is also partnered with She Canada Magazine, Uber, Sikh International Film Festival Toronto and many more!
2. South Asian Women's Centre
The South Asian Women’s Centre is a non-profit organization based in Scarborough, which is run by South Asian Women. They aim to increase self awareness of South Asian Women and to empower them to develop their economic, social and political standing in society. The South Asian Women’s Centre offers quite a few workshops ranging from a wellness group partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association, a senior’s group funded by the City of Toronto, a tax clinic run by volunteers of the centre and more. These services are offered in English, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and 11 other languages, as well other languages needed by clients. The South Asian Women’s Centre accepts women who want to volunteer and gain experience in translation and interpretation, advocacy, group facilitation, office administration and computer skills.
3. South Asian Community Health Services
As a non-profit charity organization in Brampton, the South Asian Community Health Services looks at promoting all communities to achieve and maintain physical, mental and social health and well being. This organization offers programs and services dedicated to addressing mental health, addiction, violence, domestic violence and anger management as well as many others. The team at the South Asian Community Health Services consists of registered Doctor’s who have completed their Master of Public Health degree, post doctoral fellowships, Ph.D.’s, and are highly experienced in dealing with mental health and addiction issues both in India, Pakistan, and Canada. The team also consists of optometrists, as well as recruitment specialists and members who address the organizations senior program. The South Asian Community Health Services accepts volunteers and students who are looking for placements. “We accept self-referrals and offer all services in English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil and other South Asian Languages.” says Dr. Maher Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the organization. The South Asian Community Health Services also accepts patients who have been referred from clients, physicians, family doctors, hospitals, the legal system, lawyers, agencies and other organizations.
4. South Asian Couple Therapy Project
The South Asian Couple Therapy Project is a unique program that takes place at York University. The program provides culturally appropriate couples therapy to those of South Asian background, but like all the other organizations we have listed here, it is open to people of all cultural backgrounds. The project started as a part of Dr. Saunia Ahmad’s Ph.D. research, in looking at the effectiveness of couples’ therapy across various South Asian groups. The South Asian Couple Therapy Project is now directed by both Ahmad, a clinical psychologist, and Dr. David Reid, who is a clinical professor at York University. Dr. Ahmad provides services in English, Hindi and Urdu. The project has developed a model of application to assist South Asian Canadian couples in gaining marital satisfactions and ideals, that addresses conflicts around finances, sex, children, household duties, cheating, in-laws, and psychological and physical violence.
5. India Rainbow South Asian Senior Services
India Rainbow South Asian Senior Services offers programs in both Brampton and Mississauga. The organization first came to be because they determined that the Indo-Canadian community needed to create opportunities for it’s seniors to meet regularly. As a result, the organization developed the Adult Day Services program that serves clients with high care needs, those who exhibit challenging behaviours and provides specialized care for clients with dementia related illnesses. The program offers physical, mental, social and recreational activities in both a group setting or a one-on-one session to help promote independence, with all staff being professionally trained. All clients are provided with vegetarian South Asian meals for breakfast and lunch, as well as dietary accommodations. Registered participants are also offered foot care services, and bathing and grooming services. The organization also offers various services to newcomers to Canada and family services as well.
Regardless of your cultural background, it’s never wrong to find help when you need it. Contact any of the above organizations if you or someone you know needs help in a certain aspect of your life.