Farah Tanis

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Farah Tanis "co-founded Dwa Fanm in 1999 "to eradicate all forms of discrimination, injustice and violence against Haitian women and girls." Dwa Fanm, "which means women's rights" in Haitian Creole pursues its objectives through educational campaigns, advocacy, leadership development, community organizing, public events and media. Dwa Fanm focuses on domestic violence. Volunteers distribute culturally and linguistically appropriate information, dispelling myths and recognizing it as a human rights violation. A workshop series educates women about legal rights and sexually transmitted diseases and trains survivors as peer educators. It also makes referrals to counseling, medical and legal services, housing, ESL and job training. Dwa Fanm organized the first domestic violence forum in the Haitian community and launched the first women's rights radio and television information campaign. An advisory board of violence survivors persuaded family court officials to authorize translation of documents such as child support papers and protection orders into the Creole language.

"Dwa Fanm is developing another project to raise awareness about the centuries old tradition where girls working as domestics in private households are turned into slaves. The Haitian government estimates 300,000 "restaveks" in Haiti today, and Dwa Fanm will document the extent of the practice in New York City." [1]

"Farah Tanis was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the United States in 1982. She is a Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Family Therapist. In 1999, Ms. Tanis founded Dwa Fanm (meaning “women’s rights” in Haitian Creole) with other Haitian and American women in her community to promote the rights, dignity, respect and survival of Haitian women and girls. She served on the board of directors for the first two years until 2002, when she became the organization’s first Executive Director.

"Her work with the Haitian immigrant community began in 1995 with the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force and Kings County Hospital, providing supportive services, advocacy and psychosocial counseling to refugees and immigrants living with HIV/AIDS.

"Ms. Tanis began her social work studies at New York University, completed her Masters in Clinical Social Work at Fordham University and her Post-Masters Certification in Family Therapy at Hunter College’s Post-Graduate Clinical Studies." [2]

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  1. 2001 Awardee, Union Square Awards, accessed September 12, 2007.
  2. Farah Tanis, Brooklyn's Extraordinary Women, accessed September 12, 2007.
  3. New York City Community Fellowship Program, Open Society Institute, accessed September 12, 2007.
  4. Board of Directors, Consortium for Haitian Empowerment , accessed September 12, 2007.