Planning began for a study tour for Afghan carpet makers in January, 2014 when I asked two Indian rugs makers if they would allow me to bring a delegation of Afghans to visit their facilities. Obeetee, Limited, who is our longtime largest vendor, and Saraswati Global PVT. Limited, who is the maker of the largest rug we have ever purchased, both agreed to host us at their factories.
The community is invited to an event on Thursday, April 24 at 4:00 p.m. to learn about the successes and the continuing needs of the women and children of Afghanistan. The gathering is free to attend and will be held at Fine Rugs of Charleston, located at 1523 Meeting Street. Guests will enjoy music and a casual reception followed by a presentation. Light refreshments will be provided by Fork Gourmet Catering.
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.
I have written about my belief in the people of Afghanistan, especially those who are part of the rug trade. The business I know so well touches the lives of almost 20% of the Afghan people and the majority of them are women. It’s an unavoidable reality—the future of Afghanistan depends on the success of sectors of the economy that don’t depend on military action or international aid. Rugs is one of those sectors. In fact, in terms of exports, it is the largest contributor to Afghanistan’s trade balance. Rugs are definitely part of any formula for success in the country’s future.
Please save the date for the evening of April 24, 2014. Fine Rugs will host an evening to benefit the young women of Afghanistan. You’ll also get a chance to meet and hear from three good friends of mine.
I have been in the rug business for 46 years now. I believe that rug weaving is an art, and I am committed to doing what I can to preserve the life and integrity of the industry. That’s why I’m pleased and honored to have been accepted to serve on the Board of Directors for the Oriental Rug Retailers of America.
A recent front page article in the Charleston Mercury paints a colorful picture of how my colleague Alex Zahir and I are working to help the rug weavers in Afghanistan create a more sustainable economy and why we believe the Sheep to Shop initiative has the power to save the handcrafted rug business.