Somy Ali recounts her struggle to start her NGO No More Tears

With a desire to transform the world of all its miseries, actress Somy Ali embarked on a path to start with baby steps to bring happiness. She decided to help victims of domestic abuse and violence through her US-based NGO No More Tears in 2007.

Recounting her journey, she says, “I had just finished my education and obtained as many degrees as I humanly could and was still feeling a void. I wanted to change the world and the first thought in my mind was that even in 2007 so many things were wrong with our world in totality. Initially, I was all over the place with climate change, racism, caste system, LGBTQ issues, domestic violence, children being abused, and human trafficking. I knew I couldn’t do it all as an NGO and had to stick to a specific mission. I was pacing back and forth in my living room complaining to my mother saying, ‘No more of this,’ and ‘No more of that’, but simply couldn’t put my finger on what it was that I wanted to change immediately and wholeheartedly. That’s when my mother came with the name No More Tears and boom it hit me! no pun intended!”

Talking about the steps ahead, she says that mystically things fell into place. “I decided it had to be a mission where one is incapable of escaping their plight and they need the help of an NGO as well as law enforcement working hand in hand. Strangely enough, the very next day a woman knocked on my door even before I submitted the paperwork for a tax exempt nonprofit organization to the IRS. The woman was from Bangladesh and she asked if I spoke Hindi and I said yes, and gestured to her to come inside my house. She told me as I noticed her bruises all over her arms and forehead that she was being physically abused for ten years by her husband and her father-in-law had raped her. I was aghast and couldn’t believe that this was taking place four houses down from my own house. This is when my younger brother said there it is, your mission literally knocked on your door. And before No More Tears was even in existence with an exemption accepted as an NGO, I had already filed a police report, a protective order, met up with a divorce attorney, and found an apartment for this lady and her son with my personal savings.”

She adds, “That was in December of 2006 and in July of 2007, we were fully incorporated and approved by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) as an active NGO with a mission to rescue and empower victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. When I read that approval on July 7 in 2007, I had no idea how huge of a turn my life and priorities would take following that day.”

Running an NGO requires absolute commitment from the person behind it, and when it comes to Somy, she is all in. “Given this is my 17th year running NMT, it’s become like second nature to me and I know what to do and when to do it like the back of my hand given a dire situation comes up at any point in time. It’s all about experiences and learning from falling and getting up again and again. I mean this metaphorically and literally, as I have had husbands chase me down as well as traffickers which came with physical injuries. But, it’s the fate I chose and I consider every second spent working to rescue victims of abuse be it human trafficking in our LGBTQ Community or domestic violence and children being sexually abused, I am in it for life. I am prepared that if this work takes me down forever then I accept that fate proudly and happily,” she says.

She adds, “There is nothing worth more to me than getting up daily and saving lives of victims being abused physically and children being sold to traffickers. It’s not a job, but it’s what the universe wants me to do and sometimes the higher power, God, or the universe whatever one believes in melts a person all the way down in order to mould them into something else. I witnessed domestic violence, experienced it myself as well as sexual abuse, hence, using that fire is what brought me to this point today. My life is my NGO and I cherish and am grateful to every single person who has given their time and their money to sustain our NGO. As I always say that if it weren’t for our donors, our fundraising committee and our board members we would not have sustained for this long. NMT is nothing without their support and the funding that comes with their support. It takes a village as the saying goes and in NMT’s case it’s the same because without actual financial donations we wouldn’t be able to do anything for the victims.”

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