In my last post I told you about a special event at Fine Rugs of Charleston that will be held on April 24, 2014 to benefit the women of Afghanistan. Connie Duckworth, Founder of Arzu Studio Hope will be here to introduce a new collection of carpets designed by legendary architects. These spectacular rugs will support Arzu’s mission to provide education and health care and improved living conditions to the women and children of Afghanistan.

Another good friend, Roz Rustigian, will also join us on April 24th to make a presentation on a campaign that she believes in very much, the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. The initiative’s vision is to help create Afghanistan’s future women leaders through education and career guidance. The Initiative to Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 6.04.53 AMEducate Afghan Women was founded in 2002 at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island by Paula Nirschel, who is the wife of the university’s president. The mission of the initiative is to select and bring promising young women to the United States and assist them at American colleges. The non-profit organization has brought 85 Afghan women to American universities since 2002. Twelve colleges across the country are now participating in the program. Current students and graduates alike are pioneering change in Afghanistan by working in the fields of market research and international development, establishing the country’s first activist groups for women and even opening the first internet café for women. Perhaps one of the highest profile IEAW alumna, Adela Raz, recently was appointed as First Deputy Spokesperson and Director of Communications for President Hamid Karzai. Roz Rustigian Rustigian agrees wholeheartedly, noting that “our graduates are already making significant inroads by assuming positions of responsibility in government and private industry.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 6.05.12 AMIn addition to being Co-Chairman of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, Roz Rustigian owns V. George Rustigian Rugs of Providence, RI, a business she took over from her father in 1980. Rustigian Rugs is a business that is, in many ways, very similar to Fine Rugs of Charleston.

Roz has been a speaker both locally and at national markets for over 25 years. She has been a strong advocate for an honest and forthright approach to the retail sale of rugs and carpets. As the 2002 winner of the Retailer of the Year Award, bestowed by the AMERICASMART in Atlanta, Roz and the store have been the subject of many articles examining successful marketing strategies and good customer relations.

Kabul-born carpet maker and author Qais Akbar Omar will accompany Roz Rustigian to Charleston and share his experiences. Mr. Omar currently studies at Boston University and has a new book, “A Fort Of Nine Towers”, a poetic, funny and terrifying memoir of life in Kabul between the Soviet Army’s exit and the Taliban’s retreat. He describes his family’s attempts to flee Afghanistan, their time living among Kuchi nomads and in caves near the Bamian Buddha statues which the Taliban famously destroyed in 2001. Mr. Omar has written a book of hellish encounters and of familial love

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 6.06.01 AMAn autographed copy of Qais Akbar Omar’s critically-acclaimed memoir brought a $5,000 donation at a recent fundraiser for the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW) in Barrington, RI. Within minutes, five more copies of the book generated $1,000 each, with all the proceeds supporting the Initiative. A few days later, another $5,000 copy was sold.

“There is no better investment in the future of Afghanistan than to help Afghan women get an education,” he says.
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I hope you will join us on the evening of April 24 and support the mission to help make a better life for the people of Afghanistan. If you’d like more information, contact us.

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