… Their fashion show will be covered along with Shabana Azmi’s girls from Mijwan
There has been much talk of Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor walking the ramp together for designer Manish Malhotra, as showstoppers at the annual Mijwan Fashion Show, organized by Shabana Azmi. Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS) is an NGO founded by her father that works for the empowerment of villagers in Mijwan in Azamgarh UP where he was born. But the Mijwan show was cancelled at the last moment as Ranbir and Deepika fell unwell. Now the Mijwan organizers are looking at April 19 to host the show again with Ranbir and Deepika as showstoppers. But what is most exciting for Shabana is that for the first time Mijwan and the show will get covered by the National Geographic magazine. As part of a story on Mijwan and its two girls Lalima and Renu, the magazine will also cover the Mijwan Fashion Show.
Shabana Azmi, who has just returned after shooting for two English television series abroad, has already plunged herself into work. She says, “What I am very excited about is that National Geographic channel is covering Mijwan! They are going to the village, talking to all the children and speaking to the women and I am so thrilled about that. NG is telling the Mijwan story as an example of how skill development leads to empowerment of girls and women in particular. They are focussing on Lalima and Renu who studied at the Kaifi Azmi School, learned chikankari at Kaifi Azmi Sewing Centre and are now teaching there whilst pursuing their BA degrees. Both girls are coming to Mumbai for the fashion show and are delighted that they are the first in their families to travel by plane.”
The actress is extremely satisfied about the confidence and self-worth the girls in Mijwan have developed in themselves. “What makes me immensely happy is that they have a sense of self. They take pride in their craft and are participants in the decision making process in their families. Once considered liabilities, girls in Mijwan are looked upon as assets. MWS has successfully eliminated the illegal practise of child marriage in Mijwan and surrounding villages. This is the mindset change Kaifi Saheb worked towards. Namrata Goyal has been my right hand through this nine year journey and Manish Malhotra by taking their craft and fashioning it into contemporary silhouettes has partnered with MWS in providing them with livelihood.”