This past October 21st, Power of Women, a Columbus, Ohio founded organization focused on empowering women, held their 3rd Annual Fashion show.
As described by Eman Eltobgy, an OSU (Ohio State University) student in her third year, majoring in political science and serving as the secretary and strategic outreach for Power of Women, the organization is a nonprofit by women for women. Although it isn’t exclusively a Muslim women run organization, it is entirely run by women of color, majority of whom are Muslim women.
“We host events throughout the year, this [Fashion Show] being our biggest one,” said Eltobgy. “We focus on a single humanitarian cause that affects women around the world.” With each cause, Power of Women attempts to raise effective funds.
Fairuz Ali, CEO and founder of Power of Women, said the humanitarian cause of this year’s fashion show was focusing on women of Yemen. Particularly midwives, mothers, children, and their families. “Nobody really talks about Yemen,” said Ali when asked about why she picked this cause “You never hear about the war in Yemen, or the drought and famine.”
Considering her studies and line of work in maternal and child-health care, Ali felt the issue was one that needed immediate attention. When comparing the infinite mortality rate of Yemen’s to Columbus, Ali said, “This is outrageous. I thought we had it bad here in Columbus, but these numbers in Yemen are crazy.” Ali explains that it was difficult finding an organization to collaborate with due to the ongoing war and the difficulty of getting aid workers on the ground. In terms of where the proceeds of the event goes, Eltobgy explains, “we’re teaming up with a wonderful UN-backed organization called Yemen Our Home. All proceeds are going straight to the organization.”
Yemen Our home’s ongoing project, “Rural Midwives Babies In Safe Hands”, where Power of Women’s proceeds are directed, will impact and improve access to basic healthcare services for midwives, mothers and their newborns in Yemen.“It’s going to affect over 350 midwives, their families, patients, infants as well as pregnant women. Making sure they have the adequate training necessary to accompany pregnant women, before, during and after birth,” said Eltobgy.
Ali said, “We want mom and baby to be healthy.” She explains that a blood bag can make all the difference in Yemen because many deaths are a result of loss of blood. The funds raised would go into providing essential supplies and equipment.
When asked about why Power of Women went with a fashion show to spread the message, Eltobgy said, “everyone likes to see something wild and out there.”
“I wanted people to have a fun time”, said Ali. “I didn’t want someone standing at a podium making you feel bad the entire time”.
“Education is very important. It goes very well with fashion and it’s not something we see often so if we can layer those two worlds then that’s what fashion is all about to begin with,” said Eltobgy.
The designers varied in diversity and included both regional and international designers. All the designers and models were hand picked by Ali. A few designers from the lineup included, J1S, HABIBI, Alexandria Jay, Advisory Couture, The African Accent, and Lili Shi.
Wedly Cazy, a third year OSU student majoring in Business Management with a minor in fashion, walked the runway at Power of Women’s fashion show for 4 different designers. Cazy said, “I love the message, I like that it’s a good case, you know, donating to other countries.”
“We were able to raise nearly $8,000 and we had to work hard to get there”, said Ali.