ISLAMABAD - Serena Hotels hosted the unveiling of a coffee table book titled “Embroidered Dreams” by the Behbud Association in a stylish ceremony held at Islamabad Serena Hotel on Tuesday evening. 

The event, graced by the First Lady Mrs. Samina Arif Alvi as chief guest, featured the unveiling of a stunning 10 ft high display of the launched book, and a crafts fashion show as well as book auction. Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, foreign dignitaries, corporate and business sectors attended the launch. 

The large format book tells the story - in compelling visual terms - of the remarkable journey of the Behbud Association, which is one of the largest and oldest non-profit organisations in Pakistan, and has trained over 300,000 artisans spanning five generations. 

Written by Sonya Rehman, edited by Tamkeen Nadeem and designed by Shehzil Malik, the book features the textile and fashion design process and the intricacies of the age-old local craftsmanship of the traditional crafts/needlework from various regions of Pakistan including ralli, kantha, chikankari, block printing, smocking, cutwork, cross-stitch, taarkashi, phulkari, crochet, knitting etc. 

Samina Arif Alvi appreciated Behbud Association’s impactful social work over the decades as an ethical and sustainable fashion brand and welfare entity. “This remarkable book shows the heroic struggle of the women who have kept local handicraft traditions alive while uplifting themselves and their communities out of poverty.” 

Abida Malik, President of Behbud Association said, “Embroidering Dreams documents the struggles and hopes of the home-based workers, community leaders, artisans, teachers, doctors and volunteers, who make up Behbud. It is an important story that needs to be documented for the next generation to glean encouragement and creativity from. It is my hope that the women in this book, the ambassadors of fortitude who embrace the spirit of Behbud, embolden Pakistan’s daughters and give them the will power to exceed their own expectations and reach beyond the stars.” 

She thanked CEO Serena Hotels Mr. Aziz Boolani and Ms. Androulla Kaminara, the Ambassador to Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan for their ongoing support in amplifying the socio-economic impact of the Behbud Association and for being the platinum sponsors for Embroidering Dreams. 

CEO Serena Hotels South and Central Asia Mr. Aziz Boolani said, “This wonderful book makes a valuable contribution to the documentation, and hence the conservation, of traditional time-honoured crafts techniques from various regions of Pakistan. 

Serena Hotels believes in the preservation and showcasing of our valuable cultural heritage and support of artisans, especially women of underserved regions, hence we are proud to promote Behbud crafts using the platform of Serena Hotels.