If you are joining the 60 Postcards journey for the first time……..
See how it all started here.
Read about the book to be published on February 27th 2013 here.
So, talk about time flying! Any idea where it goes? Neither do I. As I told you in my last post, I have finally said farewell to the manuscript until it is delivered to my door (for which I will be ready and waiting on the doorstep, no matter what hour of day that may be).
I feel more relaxed at last, my shoulders have dropped and I have also felt a little less guilty about having a glass of wine (or two. FINE, I’ve been kinda tipsy ever since I handed it in. Guilty). Marketing, publicity and launch chats for the book are all in motion and I am very excited about the month ahead. (A bit too excited! Calm down.)
It was on my way to the Kings Cross Impact Hub (my new mobile office space) to pick up my swipe card, when I popped into Pop Up 38. It is very difficult to walk past this charity clothes, accessories and art shop without dropping in – the window displays, rails of gorgeous garments and uniquely lit decor work wonders for drawing you into the vintage delight.
I have visited before, and the fact that while there my housemate and I were offered a hot lemon and ginger as we browsed, was the first sign that this was not just another pop up. Far from it.
The shop was created by Naomi, who is in the photo below holding a postcard for Project Inspire……
In my latest visit to the shop, Naomi made us a pot of tea and we sat down in the back at a table filled with gorgeous vintage goodies. We chatted away while local, loyal customers swooped in and out – all stopping to say hello. Naomi told me all about her inspirational charity shop – how it started and the beautiful meaning behind it……..
Naomi grew up in Afghanistan until the age of 15. Her parents were there for around 50 years and together, with her Dad as an Eye surgeon, they set up the first eye work in Kabul. Naomi’s father fell in love with the people of Afghanistan, particularly for the Hazara population. Seeing the destruction and poverty around him, Dr Howard Harper became a man with a vision – a mission to change things through the power of education.
It all started in the Harper’s home where they would invite locals in to teach them English. After a while, with the number of students increasing, it was time to find somewhere a little larger and a house just outside Kabul was rented by the couple. Shekor High School was born.
The fantastic work that Dr Harper was doing out in Kabul resulted in him being offered land to build a school on but, unfortunately, no funding was available. Plans for the school were unable to be carried through when Dr Harper was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and had to return to the UK, with no Chemotherapy available in Afghanistan. It was on this trip back to the UK that Dr Harper, so sadly, lost his battle with cancer.
Naomi was broken into pieces, but completely sure of one thing. Her father’s vision and mission would live on. She tried to think of ways to raise funds and thought about her skills and experiences. Together with her friends, Natalie and Leigh (all three of them with a background in fashion), she decided that she would make the most of an empty hairdressers on Caledonian Road and gained permission to create a Pop Up shop in there.
When she had to move out of that place, she was lucky enough to find another spot further down the road. Pop Up 38 has been made completely from scratch – not a penny has been spent and every penny made goes to continuing to build Lapis Lazuli School. Naomi spoke to me about the kindness of the local community and how every single thing in their shop has been donated – rails, designer clothes, art, individual donations and even pieces designed by students at Central St Martins.
Naomi, working with two of her best friends, has created something so beautiful which has raised an overwhelming £60,000 so far. She said that she never expected this to happen – she feels humbled and blessed by the support she has received. But on meeting Naomi, it is no surprise to me. She was bound to succeed with her warm, inviting nature and her passion for what she is doing for the children of Afghanistan. And for her father – a man who I have no doubt is smiling down, proud at everything she has achieved, is achieving and will achieve in the future.
This post is for you and your family, Naomi. I am very glad that I met you. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.
If you have you have any clothes to drop in or want to make a purchase or two, please visit Naomi, Natalie and Leigh at 38 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross N1 9DT.
Follow them on Twitter here.