Full Q4 newsletter

Adhikaar’s Quarterly Newsletter (October – December 2021)

1. Immigration: Our Fight for Green Cards Continues!           

Immigrant communities continue to be left behind in the fight for immigration reform. Despite these challenges, we continue to mobilize our community members to push for immigration by engaging elected officials and bringing awareness to issues that impact us. Read about our organizing, training, and advocacy efforts below


In November 2021, our staff Megha Lama and fellow Nikita Maharjan Devkota led an in-person training with 17 TPS committee leaders in Virginia, organized by the members themselves. The training encompassed legislative advocacy and political power analysis, and included discussions on base building as well as challenges faced by TPS holders. They shared stories and expressed the urgency for a pathway to citizenship through registry (green cards) provisions in the Senate.  Our members are committed to fighting for a permanent solution through green cards for all. 

Adhikaar’s Virginia members

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (BBB), which included immigration reform. However, the Senate has yet to take action. We know the fight for justice is long and we continue to work with our members and coalition partners to ensure the demands of our community remain visible.


As part of our escalation strategy, we organized, participated, and mobilized to advance Greencards for All. Here’s a snapshot of some key mobilizing actions:

In October, our Executive Director Pabitra Khati Benjamin, and Director of Programs and Organizing Narbada Chhetri participated in a civil disobedience in front of the White House as part of a coordinated action with We Are Home to pressure the President and Congress to take action on citizenship for all. While the action took place, our Virginia membership joined the crowd rallying outside the White House. A day before, our TPS members from Colorado and Texas traveled to DC to lobby with us at Congressional member meetings. 


Led six legislative meetings with Congressmembers from New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado, Virginia, New York, and Texas, and were attended by 13 member leaders where they shared stories with their respective Representatives and Senators.

Case Support

On phone calls and address social media inquiries about legal and basic questions about TPS from TPS holders and others around the country, and resolved 120+ inquiries related to work permits, travel documents, new applications, and renewals.

2. Our Work on Language Justice and Casework

At Adhikaar, we understand that for our immigrant worker membership, it’s not enough to just run campaigns. We also need to find ways to protect and provide for them through services like casework. Some wins from last quarter: 

  • Provided an intake of 47 cases on immigration, labor trafficking survivor, worker rights, domestic violence, housing and others 
  • Supported 35 members with IDNYC appointments through Queens Borough President’s Office and IDNYC related information 
  • Supported a family that recently came to NYC from Texas with immigration, housing and other issues. We provided them our Emergency Relief Fund, Food coupons and provided them with different resources 
  • Supported a member to request a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) 
  • One of the restaurant worker members with wage claim finally got his hearing with the NJ Department of Labor after two years and received $3500 through settlement 
  • Assisted two members file wage complaint with the Department of Labor after referring them to the legal service provider and providing members support with document collection, interpretation and meeting coordination with attorneys 
  • One of our survivor’s family petition got approved after 2-3 years 
  • Connected with an attorney that is supporting a Nepali-speaking individual in detention center and we supported by connecting them with a Nepali publisher who could send him a Nepali book and we reached out to some of the members to write pen pal letters

3. Domestic Workers Program: Fight for Rights and Dignity

Training and service

Our Domestic workers’ program celebrated the end of the year with the graduation of 11 members from the “We Rise” nanny training. It is an intensive but extremely valuable series for Domestic workers interested in expanding and deepening their professional development as nannies. The training, led by members themselves as peer educators, focused on worker’s rights, nutrition, social and emotional childhood development, communication with families, home as a workplace, and pediatrics. Peer educators are orientated and trained by the Cornell Institute of Labor Studies. Our Domestic worker staff and members also took part in a five-week organizer training.

Being a nanny is a professional career that requires a lot of skills and knowledge. Along with the nanny training, we also conducted CPR training for 20 members, in partnership with the American Heart Association, with Nepali interpretation

To understand the history of domestic work through the lens of the worker and social justice movement, we held a planning meeting with lead facilitators who are our member leaders for the “We Make History” workshop series. On November 13th we launched the first workshop of the 17-part series with 12 participants. Developed with NDWA, this workshop series seeks to develop political transformation for our members as they learn about the labor movement in the Domestic worker industry. Members were also able to connect their experience here in the U.S. with their experiences and labor movements back in their home country. 

NYC Care Campaign

In November, our Domestic worker program staff took part in a mini-retreat with the NYC Care coalition steering committee, Hand in Hand, Carroll Garden Associations, and National Domestic workers Association-NY where we reflected on our achievements in 2021. The retreat focused on upcoming plans for 2022 and also a strategy on how to implement the wins of Intro 339, a new law from our successful campaign, that extends the NYC Human Rights law to all Domestic workers. Our staff Yangchen Dolma also facilitated an info session with NYC Councilmember Felicia Singh on issues faced by Domestic workers, as part of the coalition’s relationship building with the new NYC council.

Adhikaar in New Jersey


Staff and members rallying in New Jersey to push for the NJ Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

As we push for a state Domestic Worker Bill of Rights In New Jersey, our member Shobha Bhusal shared her story with Assemblymember Raj Mukherji in October. In the next month, we also did a power mapping session with our New Jersey members to build out a collective analysis of targets, allies and opposition. In December, our staff and members rallied in-person along with NJ Domestic worker coalition to raise awareness on the bill that would help establish regulations between the employer and the Domestic worker.

Anti-trafficking Survivors program

In November, our staff and eight survivors from Adhikaar’s anti-trafficking survivors program attended NDWA’s anti-trafficking “Beyond Survivor ” program retreat with other participating partner organizations. During the retreat, members were able to express their life experiences through the arts and turned their emotions, struggles and feelings of power and justice into creative drawings. 

4. Health care program: Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Health Inequity

Staff speaking with the community members about COVID-19 vaccine, NYC Care program, and health insurance

In the last quarter, due to the rising concerns of COVID variants and the need for vaccine awareness, we produced an educational video in Nepali that gave our members the latest information on COVID-19 booster shots, vaccine search and appointment registration, health insurance, and the NYC Care program

NYC Care is a health care access program that guarantees low-cost and no-cost services to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance. To raise awareness about the program, we did community outreach to 575+ individuals, shared program information, and registered 60 individuals for the program. We continued our effort to raise awareness on vaccines and address hesitancy in the community by speaking with individuals one-on-one, at virtual meetings, and in-person events. Altogether, we addressed vaccine hesitancy with 875+ individuals.

The open enrollment for health insurance in New York State has started, please call Adhikaar at (718) 937-1117 if you have any questions related to health insurance, vaccines, or the NYC Care program.

5. Nail Salon Program: #AllHandsIn for a Fair and Equitable Industry

Launch of “All Hands In” campaign

On January 26, 2022, Adhikaar, with NY State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, and the NY Healthy Nail Salon Coalition, introduced the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act, the first bill of its kind in the United States!

This bill has been a labor of love for the last two years, involving our member leaders and also close partnership work with our coalition steering committee NYCOSH and Workers United. If passed, it would create a state-level council of workers, employers, and government officials that would recommend ways to improve the nail salon industry across New York. It also would create a price minimum committee that would propose a new pricing model to raise standards so that both workers and employers can benefit.

Adhikaar’s member leaders have been an integral part of this campaign by brainstorming the bill itself and planning a campaign for this year to bring attention to improvements needed in the industry. Over the last few months we held multiple meetings with 45 of our members for the “All Hands In” campaign. 

As Adhikaar’s Nail Salon Workers’ Association Steering Committee member Sweta said: “If anyone knows what needs to be changed, it’s us who are in the industry. This council will give us the chance to be heard and win the ability to come to the table and speak up for what we need.”

As we ramp up the campaign in the next few months, we will be meeting regularly with members and training our leaders to become campaign spokespeople and recruit new workers. We can’t do this alone – we need your support to win, so it’s ALL HANDS IN! If you are interested in learning more about the campaign, contact Adhikaar at 718-937-1117 or email our campaign lead at prarthana@adhikaar.org.

Leadership development 

In November we welcomed two of our long-time member leaders Goma Yonjan Gurung and Sabita Lama as Nail Salon Fellows at Adhikaar. This is a huge accomplishment for us as we build a pipeline for member leaders to develop their skills professionally as organizers-in-training. In December, we facilitated a focus group discussion with eight members as part of our pending research project with Cornell University on the nail salon industry. We also held our first in-person event post-pandemic with our steering committee members and leaders to share updates on our upcoming All Hands In campaign and to begin recruiting to expand the steering committee.

Training and service

Our staff provided digital and language support to 200+ members with licensing support like applying for new license applications, renewal and also support for state licensing exam registration. We also continued engaging and supporting nail salon employers with their business licensing, business management, and connecting them with state and city resources.

6. Youth Program: Organizing the Next Generation!


In December we had our biggest youth workshop to date with 25+ Nepali-speaking youths of Nepali, Bhutanese, Indian, Burmese, and Tibetan roots. The theme of the workshop was “Know Thyself” which covered intersectionality and gender justice. They also shared their experience on identity, power, and privilege. For this workshop, our youths were the ones who came up with the idea, developed, and facilitated it. The later part of the workshop included creative arts and craft exercises where they used stickers, scrap graphics, and colors to represent their identity. 

Throughout the last quarter, our youth members met virtually and also in-person on a weekly basis to share ideas, plan, and meet each other. To celebrate their achievements for the year, we held a virtual appreciation day in December to highlight their personal experiences with Adhikaar.

If you’d like to get involved in the youth program, please reach out to our Youth Organizer Fellow Puja Thapa at youthfellow@adhikaar.org.

7. Organizational-wide
Staff and fellow distributing food coupons to the members
  • We held our mid-year staff retreat in December where we shared our plans and updates for the new year. 
  • Through support from the New York Immigration Coalition, we were able to address food insecurity outreaching to 400+ families and distributing food coupons to 1,140 households.
  • To educate and create awareness on the immigration enforcement actions, how that impacts the immigrant New Yorkers and to provide the city resources, we conducted 8 Know-Your-Rights sessions in Nepali with 166 members with the resources provide by MOIA 
  • Surveyed 150+ members for a research project by New York University – Langone to study impacts of COVID-19 in the Asian American communities.
  • Continued our Excluded Worker Fund service work by screening members and assisting with filling out applications with the NYS Department of Labor. In October, we did one-on-one phone calls to 50+ members and we were able to complete 6 applications in the second week of October. Since the fund at DOL ran out and they no longer accept the application we could not provide application support after the second week of October. Of all the members that have applied for the fund, only one member received the fund of $14000. 

Due to the high COVID-19 infection rate, we continue to close our physical office and work virtually. If you have any questions or need support then please call Adhikaar at 718-937-1117.

8. Adhikaar in the News