Recently Tayyaba Tanveer got a call about a new mother who’d found herself alone in a hospital with nowhere to go. The woman had just given birth, and her husband had abandoned her weeks before her due date.
“She was a victim of domestic violence,” said Tanveer, a social worker with the NUR Center. “She was calling her husband but he changed his number.”
Tanveer brought the woman and her child to the NUR Center, a non-crisis transitional home for women — particularly those of South Asian and Middle Eastern decent — who have become homeless as a result of domestic violence or abuse.
Today, that woman and her child are safe, and no longer at the shelter.
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The NUR Center is located in Miami-Dade County, and since opening in 2010 roughly 50 women and children have stayed at the three bedroom facility.
Last month, the NUR Center held its annual fundraiser, to aid the shelter’s mission of helping women gain independence and stability after domestic violence.
The event was a success and nearly $40,000 — half the shelter’s budget — was raised; however, donations are still welcome and needed.
The NUR Center doesn’t receive grants or government aid, thus donations are critical to its ability to continue and grow services. Items such as clothing for women and children, baby supplies, toiletries, and nonperishable food items are essential.
Since the NUR Center is a culturally sensitive facility, details of women’s ethnicity and background are taken into consideration. Food and clothing often fit within the women’s specific cultural and religious guidelines, and volunteers speak languages such as Urdu, Arabic and Hindi to ease communication barriers.
Volunteers help the women with tasks such as gaining access to legal aid and medical assistance. Among other services, they also help clients find jobs, sign up for government assistance and obtain affordable childcare.
“We’re a small place, but we try to address everything,” said Tehsin Siddiqui, a board member with the NUR Center.
Building confidence and encouraging self-sufficiency are among the goals of the NUR Center.
Tanveer works to help women at the shelter make their own choices, so they can move toward independence.
“Most of our victims don’t have bank accounts and no access to any money,” Tanveer said. “I go with them to the bank, show them how to manage their bills. This is very big thing for empowering these women.”
The number of families and individuals at the shelter at any given moment varies. Some women stay for only a few days; others for a few months.
In special circumstances, women can stay at the NUR Center beyond three months.
“The goal is not to have them stay in this location, but to get them on their feet,” Siddiqui said.
One woman currently at the shelter is in her early 30s and says that the NUR center has made a positive impact in her life.
“I couldn’t do this by myself, I don’t have my family here.” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used for safety concerns.
Since she arrived at the NUR Center, the woman has enrolled in classes at a local college and got a job as a restaurant cook.
“I see my life in a positive way,” she said, adding that her daughter, who is a toddler, is her motivation to move forward. “I want my daughter to live the best life. I want to afford her the best house, best school.”
Siddiqui says it makes her happy to hear stories of women turning their lives around, and that she’s proud to be involved with an organization that can provide a woman “the ability to start her life over.”