Pakistani models walk ramp with jewelry made by Afghan refugees

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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Shareefa Bibi speaks to Arab News. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Craft Stories’ Huma Adnan can be seen with models and Afghan refugees at the end of the fashion show in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Fashion models, wearing jewelry made by Afghan women refugees, are walking on the ramp in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
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Craft Stories’ Huma Adnan can be seen with models and Afghan refugees at the end of the fashion show in Karachi on Monday. (AN photo)
Updated 05 March 2019

Pakistani models walk ramp with jewelry made by Afghan refugees

  • Collection follows training of 25 women in the craft by a fashion designer
  • UNHCR representative says skills acquired are a “passport to get out of poverty”

KARACHI: It was a step forward in making Afghan refugees a more inclusive part of Pakistani society.
On Monday evening, Pakistan’s top models displayed stunning jewelry made by women from Afghanistan, as they took to the ramp in the seaside metropolis of Karachi.
On display were necklaces, earrings and bangles — each more unique than the other and each telling a different story.
“[These pieces tell] a story of those women who were displaced from the places they were born in...[and] suffered a lot. This is the story of refugees who have now become artisans,” Sidra Iqbal, who was the host of the show, said.
Iqbal added that the aim of the program – initiated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with Craft Stories and Aik Hunar Aik Nagar  [One skill, one neighborhood] – was to provide a sustainable means of living to as many refugee woman as possible.
“The jewelry we saw today has been made by Afghan refugees over the last three months,” Huma Adnan, a fashion designer and head of Craft Stories, said.
She added that with “more than half of the world’s population uprooted,” the least that “we can do is to make them a part of the economic cycle via their crafts.”
Starting from a price range of Rs2,500 upwards, Adnan said that thee quality and precision of the product, along with the design details, determines the cost, with some taking more than eight months to create.
The materials used in making the jewelry include metallic silk threads, gold wires, glass micro cut beads, pearls, metal accessories, stones, and lamb suede backing.
It was 40 years ago when the first Afghan refugee stepped foot on Pakistani soil, Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, a UNHCR representative in Pakistan, told Arab News, adding that “today, four decades have passed: Four decades of isolation, dependence, and continuous struggle.”
She added that the jewelry-making skills that they’ve acquired is “a passport to come out of the vicious circle of poverty.”
“Once fully skilled and having gone back to their country, they are likely to contribute to the economic development of the war-torn state of Afghanistan,” she said.
Sara Khan, a Pakistani TV actress who walked the ramp, said she was happy to be a part of the cause. “It’s the proudest moment for me,” she told Arab News, adding that for all “women, whether they are moms raising their children or refugees going through tough times, [such opportunities] can help them prove themselves if given a chance.
“I am proud of these women,” she said.
Afghanistan is grateful
Hamidullah Tarin, the Afghan Consul General in Karachi, said he was indebted to Pakistan, the UNHCR and Adnan for directing Afghan women toward a path of self-reliance.
“The Afghan refugees are faced with serious financial hardships. The government of Pakistan has been taking care of them for the last four decades. We are thankful for this great hospitality. But this unique idea of helping them with constant and sustainable source of livelihood is great. This pilot project should be converted into a large scale program,” Tarin told Arab News.
Appreciating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s gesture to allow registered Afghan refugees to open a bank account, Tarin said by doing so, he has “also made it possible for these people to benefit his country’s economy.”
He added that there had been several incidents in the past of Afghan refugees — who had set up their own businesses but had been robbed off their money — simply because they couldn’t partake in the financial dealings through an official banking channel money.
“I am also happy to see the beautiful crafts made by Afghan women. This will show a path of progress to other Afghan women as well,” Tarin said.
One among these women is 36-year-old Shareefa Bibi, a widow who hails from Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
“I will now stop cleaning dishes for other people. I have started earning enough for my children. But it is not this handsome earning that matters,” Bibi told Arab News.
Instead, Bibi is “happy to become a part of the world that looked so inaccessible in the past.”
“I am happy to learn that an independent woman can respectfully survive and live a better life,” she said, adding that despite the future looking promising, her past continued to haunt her.
“Six years ago my husband died and my son went missing. I came to know that he was in a seminary in Helmand. His captors told me that I could get him back if I paid them 300,000 Afghanis. I borrowed the amount from someone but I could not return the money. This made the moneylender come to my house and demand my 14-year-old daughter’s hand in marriage for his mentally challenged son who could not even eat his own meals. It was unacceptable, so I ran away and came to Karachi,” she said before wiping away her tears.
This did not work and the man tracked her down and appeared at her place of residence in Karachi one day. Some of her neighbors asked her to file a police complaint. However, Bibi was also mistreated by the authorities who used inappropriate language while dealing with her.
“I came home and let them take my daughter,” she sobbed. “I don’t even know how she is now. When Huma Madam took me to the stage today at the end of the show, that ugly moment flashed in front of my eyes when I knew no one who could help me.”
“For me, today is my day. Today I tell all women that they can live their lives with dignity through their hard work. I would never have let them take my innocent daughter, had I been told how to live my life.”
“Today, I have learned to stand for myself,” Bibi said.


Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

Updated 10 November 2019

Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

  • Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operation
  • Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox
SAN FRANCISCO: Walt Disney on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.
Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.
The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.
“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.
“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”
Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.
Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.
Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.
The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.
It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.
Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.
Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.
Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.
The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.
Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.
Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.
Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.
The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.
Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.
Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.
Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.
This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.
Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”
NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.