A good candidate for miracles is the story of this young social activist who has given these women with physical disability a way to become sole breadwinner of the family by doing wonders out of mere paper. Touched by the massive victimization of the horrendous earthquake of 2005 and inspired by the strength of these earthquake victims who found shelter at a village on the outskirts of Islamabad, the Rotary Club of Islamabad Renaissance (RCIR) introduced the paper bead-making at the paraplegic centre in order to generate income. Strips of waste paper are rolled in order to make a variety of paper beads supported by chains and strings which finally takes the form of necklace, earrings and bracelets.
To put this beautiful miracle in the picture and pull funds together, a successful fashion show was organized by Paper Miracles, in collaboration with RCIR Renaissance and Hunar Entrepreneurs at Marriot Hotel, Islamabad. The objective of the event was to raise funds, primarily through ticket sales, to support the beneficiaries of Paper Miracles which is a social enterprise and a flagship project of the Rotary Club, specializing in high-quality hand-crafted recycled paper jewelry. The reach of this pioneering social enterprise continues to expand beyond Islamabad to communities in northern and southern Pakistan, directly impacting the lives of women with limited employment opportunities and mobility access.
The models walked in style showcasing outfits from leading designer labels: Bina N Sultan, SNS, NAZ Collections and NZK. Tariq Amin’s Saloon, led by Ms. Fayeza Amin, managed the choreography, hairstyling and make-up with great enthusiasm and sheer professionalism.
The show was finely balanced between glamour, modesty and surprise, with well-timed filler activities that allowed models time to change outfits. This included a documentary showing and a well-coordinated mime performance that moved the crowd, along with raffle prizes from the sponsors of the event for the lucky supporters of the movement. Generous sponsorships from RCIR member organizations and Paper Miracles supporters ensured the seamless execution of the event.
Three paraplegic beaders who were severely injured in the earthquake were introduced to the audience along with the Paper Miracles team that works to create the jewelry and at the very end Ms. Elli Takagaki, the founder of Paper Miracles and president of Rotary Club, shared the inspiration behind the movement:
Displaced from their homes and forced into wheelchairs, one would think their spirits would be broken. But these women have demonstrated inspiring resilience and unyielding commitment demonstrating their courage and desire to rebuild their lives,” said Elli. “Regardless of experiencing immense pain and trauma, these women continue to move forward with a positive attitude and an increased will to lead a normal life, a miracle in itself.”
The highlight of the event was when Chief Guest Peter Heyward, the Australian High Commissioner, along with his wife, Susan Heyward, appeared on the ramp along with the spouses of Ambassadors of the European Union, Hungary and Bulgaria to advocate for the movement. The diplomatic and expat communities showed up in large numbers along with other influential members of the community ranging from the field of journalism to philanthropy.
“I have had a wonderful evening. I felt like a princess in that long green dress! And it was my privilege to support the wonderful work of Paper Miracles. It is a great project!” – Susan Heyward, Goodwill Ambassador for Paper Miracles