Manavi’s legal advocacy program, Sumantrana (meaning ‘good advice’ in Sanskrit), emerged organically in 1997 from the articulated needs of survivors who sought help from the organization. We provide culturally specific legal services to South Asian women who face violence in New Jersey.  

Our program consists of the following activities:

Legal Clinics: The legal clinic is designed for women who have experienced any form of violence.  During the free consultation survivors can speak directly with attorneys on a plethora of topics including: Restraining Orders, divorce, housing, custody and immigration. 

Note: Manavi does not have the capacity to provide legal representation to survivors.

Immigration Services: Manavi’s special legal initiative, Zamin (meaning “ground” in Urdu), specifically addresses legal residency issues of survivors. This is an innovative project which links South Asian scholars, women, and their attorneys in order to develop legal briefs for petitioners. Zamin has been operational since 1997 and has provided legal relief to numerous immigrant survivors. Under this program, women on a derivative or sponsored visa are assisted through a Battered Spouse Waiver, VAWA Self Petition, U and T visas, EAD, or gender based asylum. Zamin has expanded over the years to include legal services for transnationally abandoned women, a growing problem in the South Asian community.

Court Accompaniment: The overwhelming majority of women who seek assistance from Manavi have a limited proficiency in English, therefore have difficulty navigating through the legal system and its court proceedings.  Our staff and volunteers often accompany women to court to offer support and resources during the legal processes.

Legal Referral: Manavi works in collaboration with legal services across New Jersey to provide survivors with legal help.

Other Components of the Legal Program:

♦  Attorney recruitment & liaison

♦  Analysis of legal issues and needs

♦  Connection with judicial & other stakeholders

♦  Attorney & legal volunteer training

If you have any additional questions please call us at our office:

Legal Advocacy: Legal Advocacy Program

Hotline: 1(732) 435-1414