Casa De Esperanza Helped Padma Embrace a New Journey

Photograph of a young woman wearing a purple head scarf.

The Casa De Esperanza---a house of hope---truly lived up to its name for an African immigrant who recently settled in America. Family and Youth Services Bureau’s grantee Casa De Esperanza helps survivors of domestic violence obtain culturally specific resources and support in their communities.

Not only did the center connect Padma with support and an interpreter, Casa De Esperanza also put the young mother in touch with her community. Padma came to the Refugio (shelter in Spanish) with her two young children. They had been in the country for 5 months when the family sought shelter.

Although Padma was in the United States for only a short amount of time, she was able to connect with a friend who supported her even though some members of their community shunned her. When Padma arrived at the shelter, she was anxious about being in a new country, the language and the unknown brought on by domestic violence.

In order to communicate better with Padma, Refugio staff accessed a free interpreter through a community organization that specialized in working with Muslim victims of domestic violence. As time went by, Padma began learning more English. This increased her confidence in navigating the system.

Padma instilled in her children her love for learning and sense of lucha (Spanish for resiliency). When Padma came to the shelter, her three-year-old son did not speak any English but he had begun speaking their native language. Within weeks, he was clearly speaking their native language along with English and some words in Spanish. Because Padma wanted to keep increasing her language skills, the shelter connected her with a local center that offered an English program. Padma attended classes twice a week.

Based on Padma’s request, the shelter helped her petition for an Order for Protection. The process was lengthy and stressful for Padma, but she remained positive throughout the hearings and was issued her final order soon after. One of the most difficult aspects of the Order for Protection process was the visitations that would begin with the children and their father. Refugio staff helped Padma and her children through this tense time by offering connections to resources and support.

Padma has used her time in the shelter to strengthen her relationship with her children and achieve her goal of learning English. She worked with one of the shelter’s advocates to ensure access to transitional housing under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Padma has become more connected to her community and has found members that support her journey. She has worked hard and used her strengths to move forward as a single mother.

Casa De Esperanza’s National Latina Network for Healthy Families and Communities exists to advance effective responses to eliminate violence and promote healthy relationships within Latina families and communities. NLN addresses four primary issues: increasing access for Latinas experiencing domestic violence through training and technical assistance; producing culturally relevant tools for advocates and practitioners; conducting culturally relevant research that explores the context in which Latina families experience violence; and interjecting the lived realities of Latinas into policy efforts to better support Latina families.

The NLN is led by five dynamic and experienced national leaders and supported by three national steering committees in policy, technical assistance, and research. For more information, visit Casa De Esperanza.