I am so proud to be part of Nooristan Foundation‘s initiatives to help women in Afghanistan. In honor of International Women’s Day tomorrow, I share this new video/short film that shows how Nooristan Foundation is supporting Afghan women’s rights and rule of law through Global Rights Legal Aid Program.
On Thursday, October 24th, I attended the Evening of Hope Gala to Benefit Afghan Women & Children hosted by The Nooristan Foundation, at the residence of the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao. Special guests included Washington diplomats and Congressman, including Mr. and Mrs. Ed Royce. The event raised money for a great cause which you can read about more here: http://www.nooristanfoundation.org. Helping Afghans is a passion for me and my family – we feel that we are lucky to live in the U.S. and the least we can do is raise money to help those in need such as building schools, supporting entrepreneurship programs for women, housing families in refugee camps, and much more. Thank you to all the kind donors and supporters who came that evening, especially Leonie Industries – they donated $5,000 to Nooristan Foundation!
Unfortunately, the world has a negative view of Afghans because of the media, especially after 9/11. People don’t realize that the country boasts thousands of years of rich art, history and culture. Part of the culture is traditional Afghan dress and embroideries which have inspired my fashion designs. I love studying the various embroidery techniques among the different tribes, and understanding how their lifestyles impact their dress. So, it was only fitting that we all wore Afghan dresses to this important event in order to “represent” our birth country. I wore a custom black “East Meets West” Afghan dress, in a longer style, designed by my sis Mariam when she was in Kabul. I love the silver embroidered bodice and sleeves. My sisters, cousins and friends also wore traditional Afghan dresses which are known for their vibrant colors, fabrics, embroideries and cuts.
Apologies for the not-so-high quality of many of the pics. We were instructed not to bring in cameras for security reasons, so I had to take pics with my phone. We were lucky enough to find someone who did bring a camera (thanks Mr. Abdullah Noori!) to snap a few higher quality pics:
From left to right: My sister Alina, my cousin Roya, my cousin Hangama, me, my dear friend Senzel, the U.S. Ambassador to India Ms. Nirupama Rao, Ms. Hakimi (wife of Afghan Ambassador the U.S), my mom Guli, my aunt Schameya, my sister Mariam in a purple flower caftan I designed, and Arian Ahmadi
My mother, Guli, and father, Nadir Atash, speaking with the Ambassador
My aunt Mary and colleague Mr. Abdullah Noori
Yama Keshawerz and my sis Mariam Atash
Mariam and Congressman Ed Royce
Members of Leonie Industries – they donated $5,000 to Nooristan Foundation!
I’m looking forward to this year’s “Evening of Hope” benefit to raise money for women and children of Afghanistan. It’s taking place on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 at 7 pm at the residence of the Indian Ambassador in Washington D.C. What I like about Nooristan Foundation is that monies from fundraising go directly to help the Afghan people. It’s an all volunteer organization so there aren’t overhead costs that eat into funds. If you have $10 or $1000, please donate because it’s a worthwhile cause. You can find out more about Nooristan Foundation projects HERE
In high school, I was obsessed with the original supermodels – there was Cindy, Claudia, Naomi, Linda…and of course Christy! Her beauty is, and still is, out of this world. Over the years, I have seen her grace countless magazine covers and always admired her for transitioning from modeling into launching her own businesses and charity. She is also married to the handsome Ed Burns and is a mom.
In 2012, I relaunched my maternity website into a designer consignment site, with proceeds going to charity. I wanted to donate to a cause that supported maternal health causes. One day, by chance, as I was walking through a NYC park with Rumi and my mother-in-law Tor, we passed by Christy! Tor is very outgoing and has met Christy & Ed Burns several times in our Tribeca neighborhood, so she stopped and started chatting with Christy. It was at that point Rumi jumped from my arms into Christy’s arms and that’s when a real conversation about being a mom and her charity, Every Mother Counts, took place. I told her I was from Afghanistan, and my interest in maternal health charities. She gave me her e-mail so we could discuss it further.
Over the next few months, we kept in contact via e-mail and soon a partnership between It’s A Miracle Maternity and Every Mother Counts was born. I was humbled, and thrilled, when she wrote a blog about our meeting and partnership. My goal was to support EMC by donating 5% of each sale to her charity. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take It’s A Miracle to where I planned due to lack of funding for expansion, however, I do plan on personally donating to Every Mother Counts and raising awareness about the charity via my blog!
Here is her blog:
By: Christy Turlington Burns
I met Samira Atash and her daughter at my local park in New York City last summer. Coincidentally, I had met her mother-in-law in the neighborhood several years earlier. When we met, Samira shared some of her history with me. She had been born in Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous places to give birth in the world, where one in 11 women will die due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Today she is a clothing designer, entrepreneur, and supporter of maternal health. We discussed our similar experiences in our travels to Afghanistan since 9/11. I traveled there with The Today Show in January of 2002 as a guest correspondent covering a UNICEF program to reintegrate girls into schools in Kabul after the Taliban had gone.
We have so much in America that we take for granted. That’s why I believe in giving to charity. One of the causes I hold near and dear to me is The Nooristan Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1999 that supports health care, vocational training programs and education for women and children in Afghanistan.
Here are some pictures from the Foundation’s annual galas over the past few years wearing some traditional Afghan clothes:
with sisters, mom & IMF director Madame Christine Lagarde
with my hubby Kaiser