The Adhikaar story begins in 2005 when four young immigrant women of color came together to discuss the growing inequality experienced by the emerging Nepali community in New York. With $500 and a dream, Adhikaar began collecting stories of injustice endured by immigrant workers. This included domestic workers, nail salon workers, restaurant workers, taxi workers and others who were falling through the cracks due to the lack of linguistic and culturally specific services.
Operating first out of a donated space and run entirely by volunteers, Adhikaar slowly began building its base by holding community consultations and individual conversations to understand the community needs and priorities. We responded to calls about unpaid wages, employment discrimination, unemployment, and domestic violence. The programs were a direct response to the immediate and urgent needs which were not being met. This included English for Empowerment Classes, a Youth Group, and one-on-one direct service. This hands-on approach provided the strong foundation for community organizing and grassroots advocacy.
In 2007, with help from the New York Foundation, the New York Women's Foundation and the North Star Fund, Adhikaar established an active community center (the only one for Nepalis) in Woodside, at the heart of New York's Nepali community. The center has become a home away from home, in addition to a training facility and meeting space.
We provide a safe environment for Nepali community members to convene, creatively problem solve and share victory stories. This has become especially critical for women and youth who are too often left out of the conversation in mainstream Nepali groups. In December 2009, Adhikaar moved to its current location, a wheelchair accessible space that is conveniently located near subways and bus, and at the heart of where our members live, shop, worship and socialize.
Adhikaar is the community's 411/311 service. We are the first stop for other community organizations, government agencies, researchers, and media personnel looking for information about Nepali community.Adhikaar is also a gateway between the Nepali community and other social justice movements, elected officials and mainstream institutions. Our work have also been covered by various media outlets, including the New York Times, New York Daily News, Queens Courier, Times Ledger, WBAI, USNepal Online, Nepal Khabar, Namaste Nepal Television, as well as the Annapurna Post, Kantipur, and Kantipur FM in Nepal. Adhikaar team members have also been honored with numerous awards.