According to Pakistan’s latest news, the Behbud Crafts and Cafe in F-6 Markaz Islamabad was recently re-launched after remaining close for a few months for renovations.
Both the cafe and the boutique now feature huge picture windows on all three sides, giving panoramic views of the Margalla hills.
The place is awash with lots of natural light and is splashed with bright colours. It gives off a very homely feel with comfortable chairs and huge sofas.
The cafe was originally launched to pay for Behbud’s many projects. Ms Abida Malik told Dawn there was a ‘donor fatigue’ where less people were donating. Also, she said, “Fund raisers are a lot of work. That is when we came up with the idea for the cafe. We can now concentrate more on the projects than on raising money.”
Behbud is a nonprofit organisation that has been working for over 50 years.
It aims to empower women by providing them healthcare, education and income generating opportunities by teaching them a skill and encouraging them to use the skills they already have.
Even when they start attending schools and colleges, the organisation still encourages women to put their skills to work, so they can be financially independent.
The boutique showcases traditional clothes and other items handmade by women in far off, rural areas. Ms Malik said: “The women who make them are paid well and proceeds from sales go towards bettering their lives.”
Talking about the items on display at the boutique, she said:
“This is the heritage of Pakistan. We educate the women in rural areas but still encourage them to keep our traditions alive.”
Proud of the café’s new look, Ms Malik said: “I can say that with all the efforts that have gone onto redesigning this place, this is now the best cafe in town.”
The design for the new cafe and boutique were sponsored by Sohail and Fawad Architects.
Ms Malik said her organisation was honoured to be associated with the architectural firm because it is the oldest such firm in Islamabad and has contributed a lot to the city.
Fawad Abbasi of Suhail and Fawad Architects said that when met with the Behbud team he found he could not say no to an organisation that was contributing so much to the society and to the city he had grown up in.
He said: “It is very important to give back to the society. This is what our corporate policy is as well.”