A special gesture

Ambika Shaligram
Friday, 12 May 2017

Catching up with girls from Maher Home who will be participating in a fashion show to be held at The Westin Pune today

You are special’ is the message that the Media Brewing Company sought to give to the girls. And what better way to do it than give an opportunity to girls from Maher (an orphanage home for destitute women and their children) to showcase their talent in a fashion show to be held today at The Westin Pune.  

Supriya Phadtare, director of Media Brewing Company, says, “We wanted to do something for the cause of the girl child. We decided to focus on boosting the morale of girls, who were abandoned by their families, or those who have come this far on their own grit and determination. So we decided to approach Maher and asked their girls to be a part of this fashion show, which is actually a fundraiser for the orphanage.” 

The seven girls from Maher (Vadgaonsheri centre) will be walking the ramp along with Sonalee Kulkarni of Natarang fame, and six professional male and female models. Phadtare explains that the participating girls were selected by authorities of Maher, themselves. Sr Lucy Kurien, founder-director of Maher, adds, “My only condition was that there should be no vulgarity in the show. I am grateful that people are thinking of institutionalised children and giving them such opportunities. Why should only the rich and beautiful be part of such shows? Why can’t vulnerable children also participate in ramp walk?” 

The girls (aged between 16 and 18 years) are thrilled with the chance to participate in the catwalk. Says Rani  Shaikh, a student of fashion design, “On the first day, the Media Brewing Company met us, it was the birthday of Monali and Pooja. So they got us a cake, played some music. It was great fun. Then, they took us shopping to buy our costumes. We have two costume changes in the sequence — a palazzo and then jeans.”

One would expect them to be a hesitant lot, but the girls have correct amount of chutzpah and attitude as they strut, wearing high heels, during the rehearsals. 

Chaitanya Gokhale, who is choreographing the sequence, claims to be a relieved man. Says he, “The girls are a confident bunch. I am never as relaxed before a show as I am for this one. They know their sequence, entry, pause, twirl and walk back. They are confident in heels. I am impressed.” 

The girls —  Pooja Bade, Priyanka Daundkar, Trupti Shinde, Sameena Khan, Monali Babar Neha Avhad and Rani Shaikh — are putting in hard work amidst a lot of fun. 

“We practise the catwalk here for three hours and when we get back to home, we practise some more,” adds Shinde. 

Watching their enthusiasm, we ask Phadtare, if this will be a regular feature, to which she replies, “We plan to do something for the underprivileged every year — girls and boys, both. Many boys too have been abandoned and were living on the streets before being brought up at various orphanages. They too need our help.”

“At the ‘You are Special’ fashion show, a separate stall will be set up for Maher, and those who want to help out the institution can do so directly without our intervention,” adds Phadtare. Truly a special initiative!

You can contact the author on Twitter @riceandpickle

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