The objective is three fold. The first and most important mission is to raise funds for the people of Pakistan impacted by the devastating floods. According to United Nations the number of people suffering could exceed the combined total in three recent mega disasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. More than 1,500 people have been killed and more than 20 million have been affected so far.
Secondly, the founder, Yasmeen Fatimah came up with this idea to bring together Indians and Pakistanis for a noble cause at a time of a humanitarian disaster. Tensions between the two countries and its people have been high since a Pakistani citizen was arrested for having masterminded the attacks on Mumbai in 2008, and this is a way to rise above animosity and prejudices and go beyond borders.
Since it is also being co-sponsored by non-South Asian organizations, including our developing world and Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, a conglomeration of 36 diverse faith communities, it reflects a global, multi-faith community showing solidarity and support for the people of Pakistan facing a calamity of unimaginable proportion.
Lastly, the exhibition seeks to shed light on Village Pastels and its efforts to promote livelihood efforts by low income individuals in India. Village Pastels is a company that seeks to promote handcrafted eco-friendly products from organizations and individuals, especially women, in India that work in income generation schemes. It was founded by Yasmeen Fatimah in November 2009. She is originally from India and used to work with women in Lucknow, Aligarh and Delhi to promote their hand embroidery skills before she moved to the US. She works as a Web Program Manager in an IT company. The ultimate goal of the company is to expand to other countries, particularly those impacted by war or other disasters. This includes countries like Pakistan, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. Consumers who purchase Village Pastels products are aiding organizations that help with livelihoods in India.
This exhibition showcases exquisite hand embroidered scarves with kantha embroidery on silk; Kashmiri pashmina scarves, bags, rugs and stoles; elegant and festive kurtis and stylish handmade evening bags. All proceeds after deducting costs will be donated to organizations in Pakistan involved in relief work as well as long term rehabilitation and community building. More information about the exhibition, products and organizations is available on Facebook or http://villagepastels.com