Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women's Center)

Womankind, formerly NYAWC, works with survivors of gender-based violence to rise above trauma and build a path to healing.

aka Womankind   |   New York, NY   |  https://www.iamwomankind.org/


Formerly New York Asian Women's Center, Womankind works with survivors of gender-based violence to rise above trauma and build a path to healing. We bring critical resources and deep cultural competency to help Asian communities find refuge, recovery, and renewal.

Ruling year info



Ms. Yasmeen Hamza

Main address

32 Broadway, 10th Floor

New York, NY 10004 USA

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NTEE code info

Family Violence Shelters and Services (P43)

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

Hot Line, Crisis Intervention (F40)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

1 in 4 women in America will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime. Among immigrant women, the rate increases to at least 1 in 3. A growing body of research shows that immigrant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence--they tend to have fewer resources, stay longer in the abusive relationship, and sustain more severe physical and emotional consequences as a result of the abuse and the duration of the abuse than other victims in the United States. An abuser can interfere, prevent or discourage a victim from working, and threaten their legal status, which may block them from seeking help. Asian women in NYC are particularly at risk. At 1.23 million, Asians are the fastest growing immigrant group nationwide, and also experience higher rates of poverty and intimate partner violence (41-61%) compared to the national average (25%).

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program Overview

Programs Offered:


Calling our helpline (888-888-7702) and opens the door to all the services of Womankind. Highly trained helpline advocates can answer general questions about domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual violence, elder abuse and child abuse. They can also give information about our services including residential, community-based program and make referrals when appropriate. Helpline advocates can provide crisis counseling and help in developing a basic safety plan to use if you are not yet ready to seek help. We speak 18+ Asian languages and dialects, and Spanish. All calls are free and confidential.

Easily accessible by public transportation and centrally located in predominantly Asian neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, Womankind’s three community offices provide safe spaces for advocates and clients to work together on healing from trauma. In addition to counseling sessions and other core services that take perennially occur here, programs such as DAT and AWE meet here for their creative art and support groups, and wellness activities.

Womankind’s two emergency residences are more than shelters. With their homelike surroundings and supportive staff, Rose House and Peace House offer solace and comfort to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their children. With a total of 40 beds, the houses offer shared and private spaces where survivors and their families develop their own individualized healing journey. The staff prioritizes individual and collective comfort and is able to make various, religious, cultural, and physical accommodation as needed. Rose House and Peace House are the only ones licensed by New York State that are culturally and language equipped to serve pan-Asian survivors of domestic and sexual violence for up to 90 days. Continuing care services are available for survivors after they move out.


Womankind boasts a team of highly qualified advocates who provide therapeutic support and prompt and professional services designed to facilitate recovery from trauma. Advocates are trained to support clients as they think through their thoughts, feelings, and concerns in order to help them achieve their various goals, often in their native language. The healing environment initiates with the relationship between the survivor and advocate that serves to restore trust in another individual and increases alliances that support recovery processes. This dyadic relationship continues to expand to trusting relationships that are developed with peers and other community members. The nature and strength of relationships are crucial in the survivor gaining trust, increasing hope, getting and giving support, and building self-esteem—the seeds of healing.

Advocates offer resources and advice to help survivors address barriers that they may be experiencing within their lives. This assistance can involve case management, obtaining benefits that can assist with financial hardships, support in navigating various criminal justice and other legal systems, as well as additional support in caring for the entire family unit. We recognize that a violent incident or a set of incidents can have a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing. Increasing access to resources as well as skills that support the ability live in optimal conditions, plan for the future, and support overall wellbeing are crucial. To strengthen the healing relationship further, advocates support survivors as they explore options and the consequences of various decisions, and by accompanying them to appointments to increase their agency over time.

A wide range of wellness activities is offered to survivors as stand-alone services or as elements in healing circles. These activities include acupuncture, acupressure, qigong, yoga, mindfulness practices, dance and movement, and expressive arts. Survivors exercise their choice about the type and length of the activities that works best for them. Survivors are also actively invited to the co-creation process of healing circles. The body-mind-spirit connection in healing trauma applies as much to the advocate as it does to survivors. As such, these wellness practices are also offered to advocates. By offering and encouraging advocates to engage in the same practices that are offered to survivors, the purpose is to support advocates remain present and intentional in establishing a healing journey with a survivor.

Womankind’s Legal Department is focused on assisting clients with immigration relief to break the power and control by their abusers or traffickers. Safety is often difficult to achieve when clients cannot access protections afforded by the justice system independent of their abusers. We provide relief opportunities including U and T visas, VAWA self-petitions, and battered spouse waivers. Our attorneys also represent clients in their filings for relief and accompany them to immigration interviews and court hearings. Womankind’s legal program is language-accessible and works closely with our social service staff, helping to increase survivor’s access to justice. In 2018, Womankind will begin providing family law services.

The Economic Empowerment Workshop Program focuses on giving clients, the majority of whom are low-income, tools and resources that can empower them to gain financial and legal control of their lives. Workshops related to financial planning, workforce basics, and legal remedies are provided to survivors and span a number of topics (including saving, goal setting, career readiness, business planning, and workers’ rights). Partnerships are also developed to support clients who are interested or in need of resources such as ESL/GED classes, computer literacy, hard skills training, and/or consumer law referrals.

Drawing And Truth (DAT) is a mentoring program for youth ages 13 to 18 who have experienced or witnessed interpersonal violence. Unlike typical mentoring programs where the mentor and mentee are assigned as pairs, DAT works as a social group where participants collectively engage in a wide range of recreational and educational activities, making the most of the resources available to them in New York City. DAT takes place weekly at one of Womankind’s Community Offices throughout the academic school year. Since 2008, DAT has worked to provide a community where all members are safe to exist, explore, and express themselves freely in a group setting; have opportunities for self-reflection and self-growth; and learn, experience, and practice healthy relationships with others.

The Youth Enrichment Program (YEP) provides skills-based educational support for 14 to 18 year old youth to help them develop confidence and youth-led community advocacy. The program comprises of three components – the Youth Enrichment Course, Leadership Academy, and Internship Experience – all of which help enhance the critical thinking and decision making skills of our participants. The goal of YEC is for graduates of the program to become peer advocates to the broader community who educate their teen peers on issues of survivorship and their journeys. YEP is separated into three phases throughout the fall, spring, and summer and meets on a weekly basis.

Under our Project Free (anti-human trafficking) program, Womankind works with New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTIC) to help defendants who are highly probable of being trafficked connect with a community and receive assistance. AWE creates a safe space where participants are involved in wellness activities, ESL tutoring, career counseling, and financial education. Under this program, clients are also provided with communal lunch and an individual counseling session in order to further establish the trust clients need to seek help for trauma related to trafficking.

Womankind’s Later in Life Program serves older survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence. Started in 2013, our Later in Life Program was created in response to seeing an increase in the number of 50+-year-old clients served in our emergency domestic violence residences – survivors of abuse later in life, mostly women who were in domestic violence situations for many years. We saw a gap in our services and sought to find ways in which we can meet the needs of Asian survivors of abuse later in life.


The Peer Educator Program is part of the Later in Life Program. The goal is for Womankind to build connection and trust with survivors through engaging older adults who reach out to their community members. Peer educators are recruited to work with staff to plan and provide community education. They also do trainings on abuse in later life and elder abuse awareness as well as provide feedback on how to reach out to the older adult community based on their personal experience as part of the community group.

Womankind provides information and trainings to both service providers and community members about domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, later in life abuse, and cultural sensitivity as well as the various programs and services offered. Staff can conduct these trainings in the various languages spoken at the agency as well. In addition, Womankind participates in various community meetings, events and partnerships throughout the city for the purposes of outreaching, educating and advocating for survivors and the communities we serve.

Womankind’s advocacy efforts are rooted in the lived experiences of violence survivors. In addition to providing services and advocacy to individuals affected by violence, we promote social change by participating in coalitions and alliances, providing critical information to community members, and analyzing and influencing policy and budget decisions. Through advocacy, Womankind works to mitigate barriers to services and resources for violence survivors, build the capacity of communities and families to recognize, prevent, address, and heal from violence; and transform systemic conditions that create vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work


Caring for Children Award 2006

Coalition for Asian Children and Families

Community Champion 2005


Hero Award 2003

Robin Hood Foundation

Justice, Freedom and Courage Awards to End Domestic Violence Award 2002

Governor George Pataki

Nav Nirmaan Community Service Award 2001

Nav Nirmaan Foundation

Eleanor Roosevelt Community Service Award 1990

Governor Mario Cuomo

Susan B. Anthony Award 1990


President’s Volunteer Action Award 1991

President George Bush

Gloria Steinem “Women of Vision” Award 1992

Ms. Foundation For Women

Woman Warrior Award 1992

Asian Pacific Women’s Network

Social Work Image Award in Direct Practice 2015

National Association of Social Workers: NYC Chapter

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total Number of Helpline Calls

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our Mission: Womankind works with survivors of gender-based violence to rise above trauma and build a path to healing. We bring critical resources and a deep cultural competency to help Asian communities find refuge, recovery, and renewal.

Womankind works to provide direct assistance to survivors of violence: shelter, emergency intervention, counseling, advocacy, and help with housing and employment. At the same time, we make efforts to address the myriad of systemic barriers to safety faced by our community. And finally, we seek to change the narrative in terms of removing obstacles to getting help: destigmatize, educate communities, outreach, etc.

We employ a highly personal, holistic approach and effectively utilize a distinctively Asian concept of wellness. This integral approach to wellness encompasses a deep respect for each individual’s essential self and acknowledges the connection of heart, mind, and body.

Our goal is transformation, empowerment and renewal. The approach is Asian. The outcome is highly effective. The tools we use to achieve renewal are acupuncture, Qi Gong, and trauma-sensitive yoga, along with talk therapy, financial counseling, job training and mentoring programs for children and youth. All fortified by countless words of kindness in many diverse Asian languages and dialects. This leads survivors from isolation to connectedness to society and to possibility, from barely surviving to fully thriving.

We directly serve 2,000+ individuals annually and reach over 60,000 indirectly via outreach activities. All services are free and confidential, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or immigration status. With nearly 80 staff and 150+ volunteers who speak 18+ Asian languages plus Spanish and Portuguese, our services include: a Toll Free 24/7 Multilingual Helpline; Emergency Residences; Intensive Client Advocacy; Culturally Informed Counseling; Support Groups; Wellness Services; an Holistic Employment and Housing Program, an Anti-Human Trafficking Program, Immigration Legal Services; an Award-Winning Children’s Program; a Later in Life Program, and, a Robust Community Outreach and Education Program. Our three community offices (downtown Brooklyn, Elmhurst /Queens and Chinatown/Lower Manhattan) take walk-ins, and our two confidential emergency residences (20 beds each) are located in Brooklyn and Queens.

Womankind’s MAP Model of practice, Intensive Advocacy approach, and specialty program areas are inclusive of all of these recommendations—with a particular focus on trauma-informed approaches, cultural specificity, services for older survivors, provision of legal services, and coordination with other service providers in the community. Moreover, Womankind strives to close service gaps in the following ways:

●Challenges in navigating systems— Accessing services through a complicated network of providers operating with sometimes complex schedules, eligibility guidelines and policies leaves survivors (particularly those of immigrant background) at a major disadvantage. Womankind’s cultural, linguistic and holistic approach successfully guides clients through these systems via intense advocacy, information and referral, and accompaniment.
●Womankind’s Advocates take a high-touch approach, working intensively one-one, while also remaining cognizant of the survivor’s unique situation. For example, unlike other programs (whether community based or ‘shelter’/residential), Womankind is able to work with and recognize the greater family unit- which is reflected in our program designs (for example, serving secondary survivors).
●Our approach is ‘survivor-lead’. For example, the open-ended structure of our intake process and resulting service plan both allow the client to dictate what information s/he chooses to share. The advocate may suggest services that she believes will support the client, but it is ultimately the client’s decision whether s/he chooses to participate, how and when they participate. Taking this approach builds a strong foundation of trust with the survivor- which increases the likelihood that they will maintain their safety and be successful in their healing journey.
●Womankind understands how violence impacts survivors across the life-span and have specialized intervention models reflecting this understanding.

Dedicated, caring, and hard-working, Womankind ‘s 80+ employees represent the diverse pan-Asian community – we come from cultures that include Korean, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Filipino, Pakistani, and Vietnamese, to name a few. Together we speak 18+ Asian languages and dialects (plus Spanish and Portuguese) that include Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fouzhounese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Toishanese, Tagalog, Sinhalese, and Bahasa Indonesia. They come from diverse cultures including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, and Filipino. The staff reflects the varied personal experiences of the city’s Asians, immigrating to the U.S. at different ages and under different circumstances, or born in the US. Direct service staff is well trained, knowledgeable in specific Asian cultures, and experienced in working with Asian families and domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Womankind seeks employees who are bilingual, possess experience in the area of violence against women, advocacy or working within the Asian communities, and have achieved a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. All program directors and supervisors to Advocates are either licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or licensed master social worker (LMSW).

More than half of our direct service staff have Master’s degrees in Social Work, Psychology, or related fields, and one of our Supervisory counselors is a registered nurse. Womankind’s Executive Leadership brings to the table invaluable wisdom and knowledge from decades of experience working in the nonprofit field.

Womankind is minority led, governed and staffed. Our board of directors, advisory board, and staff have professional and/or personal experience with Asian American families and domestic and sexual violence. Their backgrounds include business, law, finance, technology, international relations, and human services. Among them are individuals with experience leading Asian nonprofits, in domestic violence and sexual assault, and coaching girls.

The 9-member Advisory Board was co-founded by a state judge. Most members have decades of experience as professionals in the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault, as lawyers, advocates, executive directors of non-profits, and a professor. Two members are survivors. One member is Executive Director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault; another is the Executive Director of Pace Women's Justice Center.

Since we began back in 1982, Womankind has helped tens of thousands of survivors escape violence and build a path to healing.

Womankind has the only two NYS licensed shelters with a focus on Asian American domestic violence survivors. Womankind has three walk-in community offices, in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens – within major Asian neighborhoods. Womankind specializes in serving Asians in New York City but serves all races and ethnicities, genders, ages, religious backgrounds, disabilities and sexual orientation and because of our specialty we are contacted for assistance nationwide and even internationally.

●Womankind had the first and only pan-Asian transitional housing assistance program in New York City.
●Womankind demonstrates a deep commitment to listening closely and reviewing our practice to meet our clients’ and the community’s evolving needs. Attesting to our skills and reputation, the Consulate General of Japan in New York has called upon Womankind to provide counseling, medical system advocacy, and interpreting for Japanese rape victims in the New York metro area.
●In 2012, Womankind was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice (as one of only six sites nationwide, and only Asian site) to launch a culturally competent sexual violence program for sexual violence survivors.
●In 2015, Womankind received the Social Work Image Award in Direct Practice from the National Association of Social Workers-NYC Chapter for our Moving Ahead Positively (MAP) model of practice.
●Also in 2015, Womankind became the only Human Resources Administration (HRA) funded non-residential domestic violence service provider in Queens, NY.
●In 2016, we were chosen as one of ten worldwide to receive an inaugural Oculus VR for Good Award, to create our first ever Virtual Reality film. Our film, “Rise Above” features the healing journey of one of our clients, a young, South Asian female (teen) survivor of sexual assault.
●In 2017, reflecting our holistic approach to serving survivors, the agency rebranded as WOMANKIND; our mission and commitment to serving survivors remains.

Womankind harnesses the collective power of community-based organizations to identify potential victims of violence in their respective neighborhoods. Their understanding of the signs of abuse and knowledge of how to proceed is critical to our efforts. Essentially, we call on our fellow community members to action – to join us in the trenches. To this end, Womankind conducts comprehensive gender based violence training to educate partners on the dynamics of violence in immigrant Asian communities; understanding the various types of abuse; dispelling myths; how to screen a potential victim of in a trauma-sensitive and culturally-attuned manner, and the range of supports available to survivors to rebuild their lives.


Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women's Center)

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Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women's Center)

Board of directors
as of 11/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Karen Elizaga

Founder and President, Forward Options, LLC

Karen Elizaga

Founder and President, Forward Options, LLC

Narges M. Kakalia

Partner, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, PC

Mika Tsugiyama Bouvard

Case Writer, Columbia University, Columbia Business School

Yogesh Bahl

Managing Director, AlixPartners

Deborah Chan

Attorney, Law Office of Deborah Chan, P.C.

Janet Akie Masamitsu

Owner, Janet Sterling Silver Design

Alexander Ong

Technology Consultant

Kyoko Waseda-Hida

Adjust Professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Jarret Yoshida

Owner, Jarret Yoshida Inc.

Sujatal Dayal

VP & Global Chief Compliance Officer, Medline Industries

Flora Feng

Senior Legal Director, PepsiCo

Merv Garretson

Group Creative Director, Hearst

Mae Hsieh

New York University JD/MBA

Joanna Martin

Global VP, Communications & Social Media, Kiehl's

Nina Pineda

Consumer Reporter, WABC-TV

Eric Su

Partner, Crowell & Moring

Susanna Hong

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/17/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data