By: STEPHANIE DAVIS SMITH
Miami-based nonprofit serves domestic violence victims in need.
As a child, Somy Ali and her younger brother used to hide under her bed and watch their father physically abuse their mother. At the time, she lived in a 28-room mansion in Pakistan, thanks to her father’s career as a renowned movie industry player in Bollywood. “Our home was beautiful on the outside, but a horror on the inside,” says Ali, who has starred in 10 Bollywood films herself.
Eventually, Ali and her family escaped to the United States, where they stayed with an uncle. But, like most victims, she found herself back in a cycle of abuse and violence. Still, Ali’s spirit persevered. She used her Bollywood earnings to earn several college degrees. She worked for some major nonprofits and became a certified victim advocate. Soon after, Ali launched No More Tears, an organization dedicated to helping women and children escape domestic violence, run entirely by volunteers. The institution’s focus is on the victims. “When I meet them, they often have nothing,” shares Ali, “just the clothes on their backs.” No More Tears helps with shopping for groceries, provides a safe place to live, and procures jobs and restraining orders. The organization works with attorneys, police, therapists, Realtors, and doctors who waive their fees. The list of benevolent associates throughout South Florida is long and includes many philanthropic Miamians, like Cristina Scarano, a Spotify executive. “Ali is a real-life superhero,” says Scarano. “It’s heartbreaking. We’re all so sheltered from what’s happening in our own backyard. We welcome anyone who wants to help.”
Now, more than ever, that help is crucial. In the past, the organization would receive up to 15 calls a day from women seeking help. That number has jumped to 40 since the beginning of pandemic. Between virtual schooling and more time at home with abusers, their need is greater than ever. Sadly, the pandemic has depleted No More Tears’ resources, because key in-person events that helped to drive donations have been suspended. As a result, Ali often contributes from her own pocket to help make ends meet, without ever losing sight of what matters.
“The stuff I’ve seen in 14 years…” Ali intimates. “But, I’m not Mother Teresa. In every victim, I see myself. I see my mother. I see my brother. It’s completely selfish. It helps me heal.”
If you would like to help, please go to nomortearsusa.org.