Asha Pabla has managed three lines of production in the fabric and textile industry. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Asha Pabla also serves on the board of directors of the American India Foundation (AIF).
The AIF is a nonprofit organization that works to enhance economic and social change in India by creating a bridge between the South Asian state and the United States. Its global office is located in New York City. The organization, which also has offices in Palo Alto, California, and Gurgaon, India, has improved the lives of over 3.1 million individuals through programs such as the Learning and Migration Program.
The AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP), which it implemented in 2003, is an educational initiative that addresses disruptions to children’s education due to seasonal labor migration. Young children are often unable to receive a quality education and some do not attend school at all as they have to migrate with their families. LAMP targets areas that experience high levels of migration, offering a learning enrichment program as well as accommodation in seasonal hostels. In addition, it engages in advocacy in keeping with the Right to Education Act of 2009.
Asha Pabla holds degrees in design and has worked extensively in the New York fashion and textile industries. She also supports a range of philanthropic causes and has served as a volunteer with the League of Artisans. Asha Pabla’s love for the handmade jewelry of craftswomen from around the world has given her particular respect for the challenges indigenous and rural workers face.
The League of Artisans has worked to highlight the artistic and economic contributions made by female artisans in under-resourced and tribal communities to help improve the daily lives of these craftspeople. Through the efforts of the League and its supporters, increasing numbers of women around the world have been able to achieve sustainable livelihoods and better provide for themselves and their families.
The non-partisan, secular League also dedicated itself to an effort to ensure protection for tribal and indigenous artwork, art forms, and natural environments.
Outside the work of the League of Artisans in New York, a number of other organizations dedicated to empowering female craftspeople have arisen around the world over the years. Many of these, such as the Mexico-based Mujeres Sembrando la Vida (“Women Sowing Life”) are directed by the craftswomen themselves for their cooperative benefit.
Accomplished fashion designer Asha Pabla collaborated on unique designs for Liz Claiborne for several years. She was responsible for each design’s quality control and oversaw the quality of garments’ shaping, fit, and stitching. Now focusing on her philanthropic work, Asha Pabla serves on the board of directors for the South Asian Youth Association.
As part of its mission to help youth thrive personally, professionally, and academically, the South Asian Youth Association (SAYA) maintains several comprehensive programs, including its leadership and identity development programs. These programs designed for young men and women in high school helps these individuals develop their social and personal identities. They also improve critical-thinking skills and foster a sense of peer support and trust.
SAYA offers various activities, discussions, and reflections within its leadership and identity programs. All programs maintain a culturally affirmative environment and help youth handle challenges relating to such topics as race and gender. Participants challenge the existing stereotypes through group discussions and complete various projects focused on getting them out of their comfort zone.
Meanwhile, they explore potential career interests through guest speakers and regular workplace trips. SAYA also hosts an annual career exploration day that gives youth the opportunity to learn about different professional and educational options.
Asha Pabla is a veteran of the fashion and textile industries. Outside of work, Asha Pabla gives back to the community through her involvement with a range of different organizations, including Aid to Artisans. This organization works with artisans around the world to grow the market for their goods and help them earn a livable income.
Aid to Artisans has successfully teamed with 10 indigenous textile groups in Mexico to support more than 300 artisans from Chiapas and surrounding communities. This area is served by the CASE Project, which helps designers and craftspeople tell the story of Mexico through textiles and weaving.
CASE is also focused on addressing gender issues in Maya society that discourage the development of artisan skillsets and inhibit business growth. Late last year, the organization launched a gender training program that brought together wives and husbands in an effort to analyze how culture can constrain artistic and economic growth.
In Chiapas, many women are viewed as homemakers who should rely on their husbands for financial support. Weaving is seen as a pastime to be pursued only when household chores are completed. However, women allowed to take weaving seriously can earn a healthy income, but they need support from their husbands to travel outside the village to procure materials, attend workshops, and network.
Men who attended the workshop immediately became more willing to help with childcare so that women could pursue their work in the evening. Some men even offered to become involved by helping procure materials and assisting in the weaving process.
As a fashion designer for Liz Claiborne from 1989 to 1991, Asha Pabla scouted New York City for fashion inspiration and developed numerous designs selected for line production. In addition, Asha Pabla has served on the board of directors of the American India Foundation (AIF).
Founded in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, AIF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives in India and developing strong US-India relationships.
AIF’s Annual Washington, DC, Gala, which took place on September 23, 2016, at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, raised $150,000. The funds will go directly toward AIF’s Ability-Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) program.
Dedicated to improving the lives 70 million people with disabilities in India, the ABLE program aims to deliver individuals opportunity of a dignified existence and gainful employment. AIF stresses education and believes that people are defined by what they do rather than what disability they have.
For more information about AIF and its programs, visit www.aif.org.
Asha Pabla, former Liz Claiborne designer, is heavily involved with philanthropic and cultural pursuits in the greater New York area. Asha Pabla sits on the boards of directors of the South Asian Youth Association and the American India Foundation.
The American India Foundation (AIF) works to improve living conditions in India, where some 800 million people must survive on less than $2 per day. President Clinton helped create AIF after responding to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, establishing a partnership between America and India to expand opportunities for Indian citizens.
AIF maintains a focus on women and girls in India, as they tend to face more barriers to health care and education than their male peers. Girls born in India are 75 percent more likely to die by the age of five than boys are, and they are much more likely to be forced out of school or become married while underage.
To help women in India, the AIF operates programs like the Maternal and Neonatal Survival Initiative. This program saves the lives of mothers and their newborns primarily through educating local health care professionals, allowing them to provide even better care.
A former fashion designer, Asha Pabla is an active community volunteer, serving in leadership roles for a number of nonprofit groups. The American India Foundation (AIF) is among the organizations of which Asha Pabla serves as a board member.
The AIF is committed to its mission of eradicating poverty in India through efforts that spearhead both social and economic change in the country. Specifically, the group’s vision is centered on helping every person in India get an affordable education and health care.
AIF also serves as a funding incubator to help entrepreneurs in India get their businesses off the ground. AIF accomplishes these goals by remaining true to its five core values: creativity, unity, respect, integrity, and excellence.
Through creativity, AIF seeks to stimulate innovation and free thought among the people of India. Pursuing unity, AIF is devoted to equal opportunity for all citizens to have a say in the evolution of India.
AIF is also deeply committed to respect for all persons, regardless of their background, gender, race, or sexuality, affirming their individuality and ability to positively contribute to society. As for integrity, AIF’s goal is to be open and honest in all its dealings, maintaining high ethics and accountability.
Finally, AIF’s commitment to excellence is at the heart of its mission. The organization works each day to make life better for all of India’s people.
Artisan Asha Pabla Frequents the New York Art Scene