Twelve inspirational South Asian women, including Noble laureate Malala Yousafzai, educationist Renu Khattor and Arjuna Award winner Roopa Unnikrishnan, have featured in a special charity calendar called 'Saris to Suit' to spread awareness about women empowerment. Boxes of the 2017 edition of the calender have been donated to 15 charities which either serve battered women or are involved in girls' education programs, said Indian- American Pratibha 'Patti' Tripathi, a former CNN anchor, who was been the brain behind this move to help her fellow South Asian women in the US who are in need. The University of Houston is gifting them to their international students from South Asia. "I felt South Asian American women need a voice, and girls need exemplary role models to inspire them to get an education and stand on their own two feet.
We also need to make the larger community aware," Gorakhpur-born Tripathi told PTI. "This is our third Saris to Suits campaign to benefit, inspire, serve, protect women and girls," said Tripathi, who launched this initiative after she went through a bitter personal experience. She had to deal with verbally and emotionally abusive situations because of pressures to have an arranged marriage. Other women featured on the calender designed to inspire others with bold, strong, and amazing women, are fashion entrepreneur and CEO of PurseN Hardeep Melamed; Nepalese American journalist-anchor Kiran Chetry; women's rights activist Nazeera Dawood, associate professor of anesthesiology at Stanford University Dr Vanila Singh; aspiring journalist Puneet Kaur Sandhu; humanitarian and motivational speaker Cara Yar Khan and 17-year-old Indian American ballroom dancer Rayna Chandra. "Being recognised by Saris to Suits is testament to how far we as Indians and South Asians have come," said Cara Khan, a descendent of Nizam of Hyderabad family. "I have always been specially proud to have been born in Hyderabad and raised in the diaspora, to an Indian family that encourages it's daughters to be strong, highly educated, socially engaged, financially independent," she said. "When I was diagnosed with HIBM we all had to learn to live with a disability and fend off the cultural taboos of being a woman with a disability that do persist with quite a vengeance. But as a family we have prevailed, shattering stigma and rising above archaic ideas of what determine's my value," Khan said.
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