The Women for Afghan Women’s community center in Queens has found a new home in Fresh Meadows replete with a spacious backyard, several rooms for classes and a new, central location in the borough.
Less than a month ago the facility, which offers a wide range of opportunities for Afghan women and their children, moved from College Point, where it was often difficult for members of the Queens Afghan community, which is centered in Fresh Meadows and downtown Flushing, to to travel because public transportation is limited.
“It is a very good location for our women - a lot of the Afghani population in Queens is in Fresh Meadows,” said Shakila Hamidi, program manager for the organization. “People did not want to take their children to the location in College Point because they couldn’t take the train. Everyone lives here near the new one.”
Size was also an issue in their small office at 32-17 College Point Blvd. The new center will occupy an entire house, although until August the upper floor is under construction.
The new location gives Women for Afghan Women a means to bring a wider range of services, courses and events to the growing community it serves.
Started as a resource for Afghan women living in Queens, the group has broadened its scope, offering courses on topics including computer skills, English as a Second Language, Farsi, Pashtu, tutoring for children and even yoga, which Hamidi said will be perfect in the new backyard.
But the organization’s most important mission is its domestic violence work, which benefits Afghan women who find themselves in bad situations in their homes in the United States.
The women they help, some of whom have never seen Times Square despite living in New York City for more than a decade because of their controlling husbands, have harrowing lives fraught with physical, emotional and sexual abuse that might otherwise go unchecked if Women for Afghan Women did not offer domestic violence services for Pashtu and Farsi speakers.
“Domestic violence right now, we have a lot of cases with the Afghan women. Last month someone told me they knew someone here in Flushing who is being beaten by her husband on Main Street,” Hamidi said. “The problem is she does not speak the English language, so she can’t call to report it, and she’s not allowed to leave the house, and if he tries he beats her, so now we are helping her.”
The group will hold a housewarming open house event Aug. 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at its new location at 158-24 73rd Ave.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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