Tuesday, March 21, 2017

American India Foundation Raises Money for Disability in India





A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Asha Pabla has built a successful career in fashion design. Outside of work, Asha Pabla remains involved with the global community through organizations like the American India Foundation (AIF), where she sits on the board of directors.

AIF works to accelerate both social and economic change in India. Recently, the organization announced that it had raised $150,000 to help people in the country who are struggling with disabilities, noting that less than 2 percent of the 70 million people with disabilities in India are gainfully employed. 

The funds will go directly to the AIF initiative Ability-Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE), through which people with disabilities are connected to inclusive job opportunities so that they can earn dignified livelihoods. The $150,000 was generated through a fundraising gala held in Maryland and organized by Aruna Miller, a member of the state’s House of Delegates. Since its inception, AIF has raised more than $84 million to fund its critical projects across 23 states in India.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Itzhak Perlman - A Musician Who Sees Charity as a Moral Obligation


An accomplished fashion designer, Asha Pabla has worked for a number of major textile and apparel companies. Recreationally, Asha Pabla maintains a passion for the arts and is especially fond of violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Last year, Perlman won the Genesis Prize, an award that recognizes people who have made a major contribution to their professional fields while upholding a dedication to humanitarian service and Jewish values. During his acceptance speech, he talked about growing up in Tel Aviv.

Perlman comes from a poor family that struggled to get enough food. He remembers receiving care packages from an aunt living in Toronto, which consisted of fruit cocktail tins, jars of chicken soup, and a few dollars to spend on something fresh. Despite this dire situation, his family continued to give a couple of pennies at a time to the Jewish National Fund. For his family, tzedakah, the moral obligation to give, was a way of life.

While Perlman’s situation has changed dramatically since his childhood, he is still driven by tzedakah to give back to the community and share the wealth he has accumulated.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Aid to Artisans - Tibetan Artisans in Chengdu, China


Fashion designer Asha Pabla possesses significant experience in both textile and garment design. Since leaving Liz Claiborne, Asha Pabla has focused heavily on charitable work and service. She supports Aid to Artisans, among other organizations. 

Aid to Artisans expands economic opportunities for traditional artisans in cultures around the world. It helps men and women in developing areas earn a fair living through their chosen trades. By offering an integrated approach to economic advancement, the organization helps communities of artisans create businesses and enjoy the economic benefits of their work. 

Aid to Artisans recently extended support to several groups of Tibetan artisans working in Chengdu, China. This new program helps people like Melah, who trains and leads artisan women in her native village. Women who work with Melah use felt and yak wool to make Tibetan toys, knitted accessories, and cushions. Using leftover textiles, these women are able to transform reclaimed materials into new consumer goods.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

SAYA's Leadership and Identity Development Programs


Asha Pabla is an experienced fashion professional with a passion for art and design. In addition to her design career, Asha Pabla serves as a board member of the South Asian Youth Association (SAYA). 

One of the main missions of SAYA is identity development. SAYA works with high school-age boys and girls by mentoring them in an environment that reinforces their cultural values and identity while guiding them in the development of healthy mental and physical habits.

SAYA helps South Asian youth deal with the unique challenges of life in the United States. SAYA provides a safe space for South Asian youth to interact and support one another as the young people craft their identities in a diverse society. 

SAYA exposes South Asian youth to guest speakers and opportunities to observe many different work environments. SAYA’s leadership and identity development programs have the goal of developing critical thinking skills and the ability to make sound decisions. SAYA's programs are key elements in fostering an affirming, supportive community among South Asian youth.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Few of the Foods Travelers Must Try While in Barbados


Outside of her professional responsibilities, Asha Pabla enjoys traveling and exploring new cuisines. One of the countries Asha Pabla has recently visited is Barbados, which has a very distinctive style of cooking. Some of the must-try dishes while visiting Barbados include the following:

- Cutters. A sandwich served on a Barbados baked good known as salt bread, a cutter typically contains fish, ham, or egg. Dressed-up versions will sometimes also include lettuce, tomato, or cucumber.

- Fish cakes. These fried fritters are made of salt fish and various traditional herbs and spices. The cakes may come in small balls or disks and are typically served with a dipping sauce made of hot peppers.

- Cou cou. While not a dish on its own, cou cou is a popular accompaniment to meals that is similar to polenta or grits. The dish is made of cornmeal with okra for additional texture and flavor.

- Flying fish. Called the national dish of Barbados, flying fish can come either fried or steamed and is often accompanied by cherry tomatoes and sliced onion. Cou cou is the traditional side for the dish.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Impact of AIF’s Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative


A former fashion designer, Asha Pabla remains actively involved with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the American India Foundation (AIF). Asha Pabla serves on AIF’s Board of Directors and is particularly interested in the organization’s Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI).

Through MANSI, AIF provides individuals in rural and impoverished parts of India with the tools they need to identify and manage illnesses related to maternal and infant health. The program also equips villages with sahiyas, or trained health care workers. High-risk cases are deferred to nearby health care facilities while other illnesses are treated in the community to teach individuals how to deal with similar problems in the future.

Since its inception, MANSI has had a major impact on the communities it serves. Newborn weight at birth has increased by nearly 100 percent and both infant and child mortality rates have decreased by more than 26 percent. The neonatal mortality rate is down by nearly one-third, and the number of pregnant women receiving medical attention has nearly doubled. 

The states currently being served by MANSI include Uttarakhand, Odisha, and Jharkhand.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fashion Trends at 2017 Spring/Summer London Fashion Week




Asha Pabla established a career in fashion design, working her way up from the position of a sourcer at a textile manufacturer to that of a fashion designer for a popular women’s brand. So as to remain apprised of the latest fashion trends, Asha Pabla follows major fashion events such as London Fashion Week.

The 2017 Spring/Summer London Fashion Week featured several trends that are expected to make their way through the fashion line. Having made their first appearance in the 1980s, puffy sleeves were reintroduced this season. Designer brands Burberry, Simone Rocha, and Ashley Williams incorporated the inflated sleeves into their party frocks, making a major throwback statement.

Unique cutouts have also surfaced on the spring runway, balancing feminine ruffles with edgy necklines. Designer Erdem Moralioglu adopted this trend, while Christopher Kane opted for subtle slivers in his finale dresses, allowing the skin to peek through at strategic places. Distressed denims are also making a comeback, pushing denim fabric into an alternative direction. During the 2017 Spring/Summer London Fashion Week, brands such as Marques’Almeida and Versus made a statement with frayed denims.