Interview & Article by Ashley Barnes
One Woman – One Year – One Hundred Dollars. That’s the motto the Women’s Development Association (WDA) hopes to drive home Tuesday, October 7th, at their 4th Annual Fashion Passion Luncheon & Fashion Show being held at the Pinehurst Country Club to benefit women & children in Pakistan. The WDA says it only takes one hundred dollars to support a woman in their program for an entire year, and they have very high hopes for this year’s Fashion Passion event.
“I wanted to be involved in a cause changing people’s minds about women who are even further discriminated against and abused, in current times.” – Denver WDA founder, Karen Overton
The picture of literacy in Pakistan is grim to say the least, especially among women. Independent sources and educational experts report the amount of literate women in the country to only be at about 12 percent. It is the WDA’s mission to do all they can to boost that number, as well as educate the women on a number of other topics, using the funds raised through multiple efforts, including this month’s event.
“We have developed a program with first and second year literacy classes for women in Pakistan which focus on reading and writing, in Urdu and English, and basic mathematics, as well as humanitarian women’s issues, such as reproductive health and women’s rights,” said Karen Overton, founder of the local Denver organization and Colorado resident of 46 years. “In addition, we provide vocational training and a micro credit loan program. This event is our largest fundraiser that takes place once a year and provides monies through our registered Colorado 501© 3 Nonprofit for our programs.”
Karen Overton top right and Josna Azim bottom left
Overton’s passion for helping these women has spanned more than 17 years now. As a videographer for a group working in Cyprus, an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Overton found herself working with many groups of people from the Middle East. Among the number of women she met from Pakistan, one woman stood out in particular because of her love and devotion for her countrywomen.
That woman was Josna Azim, founder of Christian Women’s Development Association in Lahore, Pakistan, one of the true inspirations for the development of what now has grown into an amazing partnership between the two nonprofits.
“I wanted to be involved in a cause changing people’s minds about women who are even further discriminated against and abused, in current times,” Overton said. “Living in Colorado, people are so open about hearing about other cultures. People here are sincere and deep thinking and willing to work towards helping people.”
That’s one of the main reasons her annual Fashion Passion events are so successful, and she hopes this year will be no different. Seating for the event starts at 11:00 AM, with their special “Hoopla Bazaar” opening at 9:00 AM for early shopping. The bazaar will feature three Colorado owned boutiques showcasing men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing: Heloise, Ted’s Clothiers, and Barbara & Company, with proceeds directly benefiting the WDA.
Individual seats can be purchased for $45 per ticket, and VIP Runway Seating can be purchased for $75 per ticket. For more information, or to purchase tickets to this powerful event, email wmndvlmtso [at] gmail [dot] com, or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/WDA4Pakistan.