Social distancing and stay-at-home orders to combat coronavirus have led to the growing need of services like those offered by AshaKiran in Huntsville. The nonprofit organization focuses on helping people experiencing trauma, like domestic or sexual violence.
“The pandemic has brought many challenges to our services. The need for our services went up because when people stay together the percentage of domestic violence went up,” Yalitza LaFontaine, AshaKiran Director of Operations said.
LaFontaine says that the capacity to serve people directly by working with them face to face has become very difficult due to coronavirus.
With additional obstacles caused by the pandemic, LaFontaine says working with other nonprofits and Latino organizations has been very important.
“The impressive thing has been that when the state does not think of us, we have to think about us,” LaFontaine said. “There were many state organizations, many coalitions of people who might not have been organized before but who have come together in order to help their people.”
While AshaKiran focuses on victims of sexual and domestic violence and human trafficking, they are able to connect people with whatever help they need.
“We give resources on our phone line. We give any resource that any person may ask for,” LaFontaine said. “If we can’t help you directly, we have a list of resources especially focused on people who aren’t born in the United States or different marginalized or vulnerable people in our community.”
LaFontaine emphasizes that AshaKiran and other organizations are ready and willing to help the Hispanic community to continue to navigate the pandemic.
“It’s important that we know that the virus has not gone away,” LaFontaine said.
“Do not be afraid. Take care of yourself. Ask questions. Call the COVID-19 line.”
AshaLine: 24 hour crisis line with Language Access: 256-509-1882
Covid-19 Helpline ACIJ (American Coalition for Immigrant Justice): 844-298-3225