Governor awards grants to assist immigrant victims of domestic violence, abuse

Gov. Kay Ivey (2019 file photo/ Office of Governor Kay Ivey)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $1.1 million in grants to support a nonprofit agency that provides aid tailored specifically for victims of domestic violence from other countries who now live in Alabama.

The grant funds will help AshaKiran Inc. provide training to help domestic violence shelter programs and first responders across the state provide services in a culturally sensitive manner. The agency also makes translators available to ensure that a language barrier doesn’t separate a victim from needed assistance and resources. Additionally, AshaKiran provides emergency shelter and operates a 24-hour crisis line for victims. 

“Victims of violence in our state deserve caring and professional assistance, regardless of their background,” Gov. Ivey said. “I commend AshaKiran for its efforts to support our first responders and assistance programs through cultural education and outreach.”

Volunteers formed the organization in 2006 to offer culturally specific social services and support to South Asian ethnic minorities who, according to organization officials, tend not to utilize social services due to cultural and language barriers. AshaKiran has since expanded services to assist victims with origins in China, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Europe.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Justice Department. ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.

“ADECA supports Gov. Ivey’s commitment to the work being done by organizations like AshaKiran that provide important resources for those who have suffered abuse and those who are first to help them,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “Providing up-to-date, culturally-specific education to service providers can eliminate barriers and provide victims with the help they need.”

Gov. Ivey notified Michael Conrad, chair of the organization’s board, that the grants has been approved. Matching funds of $60,377 will supplement the grants.