ISLAMABAD-Serena Hotels sponsored a three-day crafts extravaganza with Behbud Association called “Embroidering Dreams,” which kicked off on Friday night with an inaugural event featuring an exclusive fashion show. 

Addressing the opening ceremony of the exhibition, the First Lady Samina Arif Alvi said that even Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah believed that Pakistan could only progress if the women participated in industrious activities side by side with men.

She applauded Serena Hotels for supporting Behbud Association, a non-profit organization providing employment to thousands of women artisans for over 50 years at the grassroots level and reaching out to the underprivileged women in urban slums.

The opening event was attended by notable members from the diplomatic corps, foreign dignitaries, corporate and business sectors. Stringent compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols and SOPs were observed at the event.

Embroidering Dreams was an exhibition of exquisite handmade products promoting traditional needlework and embroideries of Pakistan. The three-day exhibition aimed to celebrate home-based workers and women artisans of Pakistan who continue to produce such marvellous artefacts under trying circumstances. Guests witnessed different types of traditional crafts/needlework that come from various regions of Pakistan including ralli, kantha, chikankari, block printing, smocking, cutwork, cross-stitch, taarkashi, phulkari, crochet, knitting etc. The master artisans were present at the stalls to showcase a live display of their craft and technique. A large number of people attended the exhibition on all three days and enjoyed the detailed tour of the exquisite crafts.

Mr. Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels appreciated Behbud Association for the wonderful work which he said was very inspiring and a model of learning for Serena Hotels, which also actively projects and promotes traditional crafts as part of its overall CSR initiative of supporting empowerment of rural women by enhancing their economic prospects. Mr. Boolani said Pakistan was blessed with so much talent in traditional crafts and it was a privilege for Serena to play a role in showcasing them. 

Ms. Abida Malik said that Behbud was run entirely by women volunteers and has over the years evolved into Pakistan’s premier brand for ethical and sustainable fashion. Behbud, inaugurated in 1972, is ranked as one of the largest and oldest non-profit organisations in Pakistan, providing employment to thousands of women artisans for over 50 years. 

Having trained 300,000 artisans spanning five generations, Behbud, at its core, aids marginalised women by providing them with free of cost vocational training in local embroideries, free healthcare, counselling and education for their children. The non-profit also provides educational facilities in the form of a comprehensive adult literacy programme, has set up a Behbud Primary School (in the capital’s Saidpur Village), a Behbud Model High School (in Rawalpindi) and eight home schools (from Pre-Nursery till Grade 5), for the children of the underprivileged communities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.