Encouraging the Valley's South Asian community to reach out for help

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Shelters like the Marjaree Mason Center have found many families in some ethnic communities are reluctant to reach out for help.

The Valley's South Asian community held an event on Wednesday to better assist women in need.

One of the goals of the South Asian Networking Conference was to help empower women through a cultural shift.

Families were encouraged to take on difficult discussions on topics ranging from mental illness to gender bias.

Traditional Punjabi dances put a smile on the faces of guests at the inaugural conference at the Golden Palace.

But event organizer Kiran Brar says this was also the perfect time to draw attention to issues that traditionally have not been discussed by Indian families.

"We were trying to bring about services to our community. Much needed services whenever it comes to domestic violence or addiction or senior isolation," said Brar.

Brar said not only do Indian families not discuss those types of problems at home; they're also not likely to reach out for help.

The conference was designed to help bridge the gap through education.

"This started out as a call to action for our community to say we need to stand up because who's going to understand the culture better, right?" Brar said.

The luncheon featured several speakers as well as a special tribute to the late Guddi Sidhu, who died in a car accident in October.

Sidhu was a community leader and was seen as "everyone's auntie."

Guests also went from table to table to browse through the services and products offered by several local businesses.

The problems of domestic violence, drug abuse, and senior isolation certainly aren't unique to the South Asian community.

But organizers of the event want to make sure families know help is available.
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