NSU encourages students to not only further their education, but to make impacts on the world once they leave campus. By instilling values of outreach in the community and the values of being a civil servant, many students leave here and start leading successful careers balanced with community involvement.
One such NSU alumna, Somy Ali who graduated from NSU in 2002 with a psychology degree, continued her education at New York University for documentary filmmaking and started her own non-profit organization called No More Tears in 2007. Since then, she has never looked back.
No More Tears (NMT) specializes in assisting domestic violence and human trafficking survivors with a variety of programs to encourage and empower them to get back on their feet and rise above their pasts. Some of these services include attorneys, an emergency three-night stay, doctors from a variety of disciplines, therapy sessions, transportation, food and driving lessons.
”We provide them every service under the sun. The goal is to teach them how to fish, not just provide them a bunkbed,” said Ali.
NMT’s mission is to help survivors get back on their feet. At NMT, survivors are taught to be self-sufficient, self-dependent and self-reliable.
“They have to have an income. Most of the time the victims of domestic violence end up going back to the abusers because they can’t support themselves. We make sure that we can provide them with as many services as possible to ensure they don’t go back,” said Ali.
Of the 20,000 survivors NMT has helped over the past 11 years, only two returned back to the lives they once lived. NMT’s success stems from personal experience since Ali herself, is a survivor of sexual abuse.
“[NMT] has been extremely therapeutic for me since I’m a survivor of sexual abuse in my childhood — when I was five, nine and then again when I was 13. It’s therapeutic to get victims out of these situations and watch them heal,” said Ali.
NMT also lives up to its name as a true not-for-profit charity organization. None of the members of this charity get paid as it is entirely volunteer-based. As Ali puts it:
“I realized that a lot of nonprofits have high administrative costs and there is a lot of corruption in nonprofits and I wanted to have a model with my organization where 100 percent of the money will go to the victim services programs. I did not want to do this work for salary. I wanted to do it on a volunteer basis.”
All of the funding for NMT comes from donations or private, monthly donors.
As such a dependable network for victims, there have definitely been some success stories.The first victim they helped got her doctorate in pharmacy from NSU. Right now, they have a trafficking victim that is going to nursing school. She was in the human trafficking industry in Miami for 20 years.
“Miami ranks number three in the nation for human trafficking behind California and Texas. This is a prevalent issue in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area and it seems like people are just oblivious or unaware of how serious this issue is,” said Ali.
Ali said that cases like this aren’t uncommon and that raising awareness is also part of NMT’s mission. The youngest victim they assisted was a two-year-old girl who was a victim of human trafficking and sexual abuse.
The International Labor Office estimates that human trafficking generated over 150 billion dollars in illegal profits and according to Forbes.com, it is the fastest growing industry internationally and nationally despite people’s awareness of this issue.
“That’s why it’s such a growing enterprise. You cannot reuse a drug but you can keep reusing that one product. Which is a man, a woman or a child,” said Ali.
She credits NSU for helping provide the tools and teach her the fundamentals like, how to get funding and how to use public speaking as an advantage. NSU taught her to question things that she wasn’t encouraged to as a child. NSU encouraged her to see different perspectives and proved to her that all views are equal. Now, Ali encourages others to stand up against injustices and fight for what they believe in.
“I think people who have a platform or have any kind of clout need to speak up, take a stand and help. There are so many issues and so many ways to help [others],” said Ali.
If you would like to learn more information about NMT, read some success stories or get involved, visit nomoretearsusa.org.