The Luqma Studio – A platform for women to make use of their talent in many fields. Started by Safa Society provides a platform for like-minded women to network and exchange ideas.

Moving a step ahead in providing a suitable and promising platform to women culinary artists, the Safa Foundation brings out a unique concept of ‘LUQMA – a Kitchen Studio,’ where the women chefs can serve local delicacies out of their legerdemain skills.

There aren’t many places for women to hang out and unwind in Hyderabad. But now, they can boast of a women-only space. Yes, Darulshifa, the heart of the old city, offers such a legroom for them. At Luqma Studio, they can let their guard down and relax — leaving their worries behind.

The unique initiative is the brainwave of Safa Society, the city-based NGO, which aims at socio-economic empowerment of women. The one-of-a-kind studio provides a much-needed platform for women to engage in dialogue, network and exchange ideas. No, Muslim women are not making a beeline to the studio as yet. That will take some time but the very idea of women-only area has gone down well with the fair sex.

Those who dropped in at the inauguration of the studio, along with the Luqma kitchen, last week were pleasantly surprised at the idea of women having a place of their own. “Don’t we need such a place in the #MeToo era,” remarked a young woman pleading anonymity.

The all-female studio is well-furnished and has room for about 25 persons. The pink-coloured walls are decked up with art portraits of women. Adjacent to the studio is the spacious Luqma kitchen, the food brand of Safa, aimed at turning ordinary women into foodpreneurs. “We want Muslim women to make use of the studio and engage in meaningful discourse. They can also showcase their talent here,” says Safa Society president, Rubina Nafees Fatima.

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The studio can be an oasis for women seeking rest and relaxation. They can order something sizzling from the kitchen next door and chit-chat leisurely, something the presence of men would hinder. The homely ambience only adds to the pleasure. There will be special events with prominent women from different fields addressing them on a range of subjects.

There are many myths about Muslim women. What adds to the confusion is people judging them through the prism of stereotypes. “Women from different communities can now intermingle and discover each other,” says Rubina.

With its safe and supportive environment, will Luqma Studio open up new vistas for women?

In this effort to garner the talent, a promising artist who hails from Dabeerpura, describes her works as impressionistic, abstract and contemporary.

Bad times often bring out the best in some people. It happened with Ayesha Nazneen. When most persons found the lockdown unnerving, for her it was a godsend opportunity to indulge in her passion. No, she wouldn’t be able to travel, see waterfalls or be one with nature. But surely she could do all this with her canvas, colours, brushes and palette knife.

She did just that. She did not let the pandemic to come in the way of her creativity. Each day was a new start, a new opportunity to explore her feelings and put them on the canvas for the world to see. The other day Nazneen had her ‘Dreams Unlocked’. Her solo art exhibition gave a peep into her dreams.

While it was her first art show, it was also the first such event for the Luqma Kitchen Studio, the newly-opened women-only space at Dar-ul-Shifa. “Women in this part of the city have a lot of skills which need to be tapped,” remarked Rubina Nafees Fatima, president, Safa Society.

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This promising artist who hails from Dabeerpura, describes her works as impressionistic, abstract and contemporary. Most of her exhibits relate to dreams of women. She makes use of circles to create an illusion of cage — to indicate how women have traditionally been confined. She also paints the theme of education as the liberating force. Judicious mix of vibrant and contrasting colours is her hallmark. Her favourite work remains the ‘Dream of Final Abode’. This acrylic on canvas depicts a milky waterfall, the artist’s perception of the luxurious life promised in Paradise.

A self-taught artist, Nazneen has been sketching right from her childhood, drawing inspiration from her artist-grandfather, Azeemuddin. An assistant professor at Shadan Women’s College of Pharmacy, she plans to explore sculpture next. Her aim is to use art to illuminate, educate and motivate people.

However, this bistro with unique features would serve merely women folk of the city where they can dine, discuss and deliver their thought besides weaving the ideas to shape their entrepreneurship skills.

LUQMA, a morsel of food in Urdu is the second such unique idea of SAFA after ‘Karwan Kitchen’ being first introduced at Vattepally under Bahadurpura in the year 2019 for empower marginalized women of underprivileged areas of old city.

The new concept of SAFA Foundation was established on the 6th Floor of Light House Building, Opposite Balshetty Khet Ground, Darulshifa and inaugurated on 21st March only to serve the delicacies predominantly prepared in every house of Hyderabad city. The especially built culinary bistro serves primarily the homemade cuisines prepared by the women fully equipped with culinary art and skills besides the Hyderabadi way of hospitality.

The ‘Luqma Kitchen Studio’ carries everything under a roof from tasty dishes – that leaves no connoisseurs go without licking their chops, to projectors for women entrepreneurs wishing to hold their business meetings in the bistro.

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“The entire 15 women members formed a ‘LUQMA’ team of chefs that cook the delicious dishes denotes famous Hyderabadi cuisine throughout the globe and even offer door delivery. The outlet promotes culinary skills among women marginalized by the society. ‘Karwan Kitchen’ and ‘Luqma’ both are women oriented initiatives to promote entrepreneurship skills among the women to empower them economically and self sustaining,” informed Mohammed Younus, Operations Manager, ‘Luqma Kitchen Studio,’ Darulshifa.

“What makes a difference this time is the dining facility especially designed for the women to unwind for quite some time with their friend and family members besides ruminate their thoughts, discuss and deep dive into their business ideas on par with the male dominated hotels and restaurants,” explained Younus.

“No such initiative has ever introduced in the city where only women could be able to unwind with their female friends and family members and if the idea works, than it would evolve as a trend setter into the world of hotel industry in Hyderabad City. more so, this move will leave far reaching impact especially over the most underprivileged  area of old city where women folk in a great number and skills would be found helping their male counterparts in winning their bread and butter for their families,” contended Prof.Ameeruddin, a social reformer. #KhabarLive #hydnews