Kyiv’s Olimpiysky Stadium was filled with thousands of people on Dec. 3, not for a sports event, but rather for the annual Charity Bazaar organized by the International Women’s Club of Kyiv.
Iryna Vitryk, a Ukrainian Museum of Historical Treasures employee, attends the charity bazaar almost every year. “I like this charity event because I think that to stay human we have to help those in need,” she said. “It is an interesting event because we see here representatives of different cultures and different nations. As a museum worker I like to see how people present their cultures or products. I borrow their skills in my work.”
Over 40 embassies hosted stalls and sold goods and delicious food at this year’s 24th Charity Bazaar in Olimpiysky Stadium. The event ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Near the Turkish Embassy there was a brisk trade as visitors buy their candies and rugs.
Turkish Ambassador Yönet Can Tezel says that the Embassy of Turkey in Ukraine is a longtime participant of the Charity Bazaar. “Charity is a part of our traditions. Lots of Turkish companies donate their products and we sell them for charity purposes. It’s good to be a part of this friendly charity spirit,” the ambassador said.
Usually held on the first Saturday of December, the Charity Bazaar is the IWCK’s major fundraising event aimed at helping children, women, disabled and the elderly.
“The Charity Bazaar is the year’s main charity event in which the members of our club volunteer together with the Ukrainian colleaues and friends,” says Elizabeth Kurkova, IWCK president. “We aim to make this year’s bazaar the most successful so that to have a possibility to help as much people as we can.”
IWCK is a non-profit charitable organization and was founded in 1992 by a group of foreign women led by Ingabor Kristofasse, the first ambassador of Belgium to Ukraine. Now the organization has more than 200 members from 59 countries, including spouses of diplomats, business people and expats in Ukraine.
Since its founding, for 24 years members of the club have helped a lot of people and organizations in Ukraine. One of them was public children’s hospital Ohmatdyt in Kyiv. Last year IWCK bought a complex of lapariscopic devices for the hospital for the Ohmatdyt to make their surgeries less traumatic. Some 28 newborns were operated on, using the laparoscopic devices.
Elderly people living in Hruzke village in Kyiv Oblast got the new furniture and a new washing machine purchased for the funds raised by the IWCK.
In August, the charitable foundation organized holidays in Romania for 35 Ukrainian kids from the war-torn Donbas region. Through art lessons the children had a chance to distract themselves from the horrors of war.
Every year the bazaar is a great success at raising millions of hryvnias. Last year the event raised nearly Hr 2.5 million but this
year organizers expect to collect even more as sponsors have already donated Hr 800,000. The funds will be distributed among non-profit organizations that will spend them on charitable projects.
Moreover, majority of products presented here can hardly be found in many Ukrainian shops – Canadian maple syrup, Hungarian goulash soup, Czech beer, Lebanese shawarma and sambuseks, Dutch cheese and many more traditional food from all over the world.
Various shorkshops, musical and dance perormances, children’s fun zone are also in the bazaar’s program.
The peculiarity of the event is hand-made stuff. Many wives of diplomats and women expats have prepared delicasies at home, bringing a homey atmosphere to the event.
Larysa Katsiuba, a member of the club, says during the past two days the women of the IWCK have been cooking their culinary delights for the bazaar. Katsiuba sells their hand-made sweets – cheesecakes, chocolate cookies, Christmas cookies, muffins and cakes. “The trade is very much alive as some cookies and cakes were already sold out by noon,” she says. “Our cakes and cookies are not just tasty, they also can be used as a Christmas tree decoration.”
She said the charity bazaar was the ideal place to get into festive mood, shop for the Christmas holidays and donate to charity.
Kyivan Valentyna Bilan, who came with her 7-year-old daughter, likes the festive atmosphere. “I bought lots of nice souvenirs for Christmas,”she boasts. “I came here primarily because of shopping but I also like the idea that my money will go for charity.”