Monsoon hosts educational forums and events for API communities across Iowa. The topics that have been covered are cultural identities, gender roles, immigration, and human trafficking.
Monsoon also believes in going out to the community instead of waiting for the community to approach the organization. One of the more recent initiatives is a Karen women’s gathering, facilitated by a Monsoon advocate, which is being held twice a month to discuss hurdles the community faces as Iowa’s newer immigrants and explore possible solutions. Such moves not only improve the organization’s relationships with API communities, but they also play a big role in bringing about community healing, an important factor in the prevention of violence.
Monsoon understands that because victims’ needs are diverse, collaboration with other service providers is essential to providing optimal services. The organization has been partnering successfully with shelter-based programs in Iowa, but especially with the Domestic Violence Services (DVS) in Des Moines, particularly with referrals for API victims from both sides. Monsoon’s staffers also regularly network and advocate for victims among other service providers, such as representatives from the Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale and Johnston police departments, correctional services, county attorney’s offices, Iowa Legal Aid (ILA), Children and Families of Iowa (CFI), MECCA behavioral health services, LUNA (Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer), Planned Parenthood, Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), among others. The organization also has been involved in the training of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy’s recruits.
In addition, Monsoon collaborates with ILA and Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON), a faith-based organization offering free immigration services, in providing legal assistance, such as VAWA applications, to victims from the API communities. In reciprocal moves, ILA and JFON refer API victims to Monsoon for services such as counseling and support groups. Similarly, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) have referred victims to Monsoon, and Monsoon has received assistance on food, housing and mental health services from the two organizations. Monsoon has also collaborated with LSI on community education efforts with API refugees through presentations. Also, Monsoon has sought training from the Iowa Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services (CPS) to help improve advocacy for victims dealing with CPS. In Iowa City, Monsoon collaborates with the University of Iowa’s Office of Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator in providing support and counseling services to victims of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking from the international student community.