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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Ayesha Khan and Jennifer Hartley Speak at the Museum of International Folk Art Sept. 18, 1 p.m.

Santa Fe, N.M. — Sara Birmingham, a Museum of New Mexico Foundation Shops buyer, wants to help the people of Pakistan after devastating floods have ravaged a third of their country. Nearly 1700 people have died and 17 million more have been affected by the flooding, which began after a monsoon hit the region this July.

Birmingham has organized a special show and sale of unique and exotic jewelry, accessories and clothing from Pakistan at the Museum of International Folk Art Gift Shop, Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Proceeds from this show will be donated to Relief4Pakistan ( and Shine-Humanity ( Meena Mahal, a New Mexico-based company that works with women’s textile cooperatives that are facing economic, social and political challenges, is supplying all of the merchandise.

Ayesha Khan, a Pakistani-American film director and producer living in Santa Fe, and Jennifer Hartley, a physician and anthropologist who volunteered with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, will speak Saturday, Sept. 18, 1 p.m. in the Museum of International Folk Art Auditorium. 

Although there are few Pakistani people living and working in Santa Fe, Khan, Hartley and Birmingham hear the Pakistanis plight loud and clear and are asking New Mexicans to come to the Museum of International Folk Art Museum Gift Shop to help flood victims.

“My motivation to help Pakistanis stems from the disappointing response to the floods,” says Birmingham.  “When a disaster is ongoing rather than a catastrophic event like an earthquake, it tends not to receive the type of worldwide attention required to save an entire population."

Compounding the disease and loss of goods and homes, a widespread loss of croplands is creating famine and poverty beyond that usually experienced in Pakistan.  This intense poverty opens the area up to a complicated political situation that will have far-reaching implications if not handled sensitively.

The United Nations has warned that its emergency workers are in danger of being overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis. Considerably less money has been collected for previous disaster relief efforts over a similar period.  "It is heart-wrenching when you think of not only the personal suffering of the flood victims, but also the lack of media coverage which is affecting fundraising efforts," says Khan.  “I am working with Relief4Pakistan to outreach to Americans with all donations going to Mercy Corps in Pakistan."

Khan is a New York and Santa Fe-based director/producer.  Her directorial feature “Kashf: The Lifting of the Veil” is playing the art house circuit in the US as well as prominent universities such as Stanford, Brown, NYU, Columbia and others.  “KASHF” was also picked by distributor Spiritual Cinema Circle and via their service screened in 70 countries. 

She is also the Executive Producer of “Made in Pakistan” - the first documentary to get a theatrical release in Pakistan as well as a theatrical release in the UK.  The documentary was featured by David Frost on his show “Frost Over the World” as the most remarkable piece he had seen on the country.  Ayesha has been featured on Voice of America, BBC Asian Network, BBC,ARY, MTV Piggy, The News, The Saturday Post, Ink, Local IQ, GEO News, ARY, Express, Dawn News, Albuquerque Journal, Daily Lobo, Eastern Eye, Santa Fe Reporter Friday Times, Chowk, PakUSonline and Chup as well as various PBS talk shows across the US.  She is a speaker on the University circuit in the US and is currently producing a feature film as well as in development on her next directorial feature.

Hartley is a physician and anthropologist who first went to Pakistan in 2003 to volunteer with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.  She spent two summers in Peshawar and Rawalpindi, documenting the experiences of Afghan orphans through their own words and art.  She went on to spend a year in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, whose mission is to rejuvenate the traditional arts of Afghanistan.  Her projects included an oral history program with elderly craftsmen and a community clinic in the old city, where Turquoise Mountain is restoring traditional architecture.  Most recently she has volunteered in the mountains of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, at a remote hospital run by SHINE-Humanity, a small American NGO.

WHAT: Pakistan Textiles Event to provide relief to Pakistani flood victims
A special show and sale of unique and exotic jewelry, accessories and clothing from Pakistan at the Museum of International Folk Art Gift Shop.

WHERE: Museum of International Folk Art Gift Shop and Auditorium
On Museum Hill, 706 Camino Lejo, off the Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, September 18 & 19, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Saturday, September 18, 1 p.m. Slideshow and Talk with Dr. Jennifer Hartley, Physician and Anthropologist and Ayesha Khan, Director/Producer.
These two remarkable women will speak about their experiences with women artisans in Pakistan.  In this time of humanitarian crisis throughout Pakistan, they have a unique view of the Pakistani women’s lives and needs.                                                

Jennifer Marshall