SAN Holds a Day of Community Service

SAN staff and doctors who participated in the Health Fair

The South Asian Network (SAN) held ‘a day of community service’ on February 24th.  A health fair, ways of ending violence in our communities, and familiarity of housing rights of individuals were the issues that were duly explained and formed the focus of the day’s proceedings.  The activities took place at the SAN offices in Artesia, Korea Town and other locations. 
The health fair was organized at the SAN office in Artesia by CHAI (SAN’s Community Health Action Initiative) team in association with SAN board member Dr. Nitin Shah. 
The need for the health fair, according to a SAN report, arose from our work in the community, where the community expressed interest in going to health clinic but due to lack of insurance, transportation, language along with other barriers, the community members were unable to go. We wanted to bring the health clinic to the community.
The health clinic was a huge success. Community members were screened for basic vital signs, received health advice from volunteer doctors, and cholesterol and diabetes tests were performed. Females who qualified were offered mammogram and Pap smear exams. The mammogram was done free by the  Pacific Coast Medical Services.  Likewise, the pap smear was conducted free by the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. We also had a dentist who did some basic screening. 
In all we had about 80 community members  who attended the health fair. 68 community members had blood tests done to determine their cholesterol and diabetes levels. 23 females had pap smears and 30 had mammograms done. SAN was very pleased with the numbers and the initiative taken by community members in this regard.

Community attendees in the Housing Legal Clinic

We had our health fair on Sunday, so the doctors will be able to volunteer their time. We were very much pleased with the local community that took time off work or took breaks to come get the health care they needed. We are planning on having a health fair on a quarterly basis, with each health care focused on a specific issue. This time we decided to work with women’s health because during our case management we discovered women were the last ones to worry about health.
SAN would like to extend a warm thank you to all the doctors who volunteered their time, SAN staff and board members, interns and other volunteers. Thank you for making the health fair a success.
The CHAI program at SAN was launched in 2003. CHAI is the first comprehensive, culturally competent health project to promote health and health care access for low income, underserved South Asians in Southern California. 
As a part of the new Koreatown Tenant’s Defense Network, SAN held the second “Housing Legal Clinic.” The clinic is free of charge and comes at a crucial time for the South Asian community members, as well as many other low-income residents of Koreatown. 
There is currently a housing crisis in Koreatown and around Los Angeles. Because of Koreatown’s central location in Los Angeles, many properties and apartment buildings are being redeveloped at a higher market and rent rate for wealthier people to live. Many current tenants and community members, who have lived in their apartment buildings for ten years or more, face the fear of being forced out of their homes. Many tenants are experiencing illegal rent increases, unfair evictions, as well as living in unhealthy and dangerous living conditions. SAN feels it is important to provide information to tenants regarding their rights.
Twenty-nine residents came to the first clinic in January to seek legal assistance, while 23 residents came to the second one. Several attorneys from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Eviction Defense Network, Korean American Bar Association, and other law offices provided information to tenants. With volunteer translators available to speak in Bangla, Hindi, Korean, Spanish, and Urdu, the office was buzzing with people discussing the issue. 
Residents seeking assistance filled out a short intake form and then met individually with an attorney. At the first clinic, many residents had questions regarding unreturned security deposits, section eight housing, harmful living conditions and rent control. At the second clinic, the majority of the residents sought information about public and low-income housing. Residents’ continued questions only confirm the widespread housing problems within Koreatown.
The clinics on February 24th and January 23rd are a part of three clinics planned for the beginning of this year. 
“The goal of all communication is silence,” stated facilitator Vivek Kashyap, a volunteer with the nonprofit organization, Be the Cause. The workshop was  based on Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg's application of Nonviolent Communication. Held at the Sanatan Dharma Temple in Artesia, CA, the workshop focused on the importance of non-violent language, which involves connecting with one another through compassion, understanding, and empathy. The utilization of non-violent communication in our relationships allows for everyone’s needs to be met equally and provides us with a different language to communicate, listen, and resolve conflicts. The intention of this form of communication thus allows us to understand one another comprehensively, thus negating the very need for communication. The workshop focused on using this philosophy to discuss ways for building healthier families in the South Asian community.
The 30 participants at the workshop found the topic to be extremely useful and timely. The discussion on nonviolent communication provided information on the impact of anger on the human brain, participatory exercises to discern how we learned to express anger and alternative methods of communicating that facilitate healthy and equitable relationships. Archana Joshi, a volunteer with SAHARA and Saima Husain, a Community Advocate at South Asian Network, also gave participants several suggestions for having  a more harmonious life, such as making house rules based on feedback from all the members and holding off on sending that nasty e-mail until you are a bit calmer!



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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