International Charity Christmas Bazaar takes place despite Covid-19

The outside venue of the International Charity Christmas Bazaar by Lukas BARBIER

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA, December 4th — Today, the opening of the International Charity Christmas Bazaar was held at the Vilnius Town Hall (Rotušės aikštė).

The event organized by the International Women’s Association of Vilnius (IWAV) since 2002 welcomes 31 charity stands, of which 27 are from various embassies. In addition, embassies and business representatives hold different booths and present their countries and their cultures.

The entrance to the Vilniaus Rotušė venue, by Lukas BARBIER

Ambassadors and Consuls alike, such as the ambassadors of Finland and Germany, attended the opening of the Bazaar. The vice-mayor of Vilnius Edita Tamošiūnaitė, the ex-president Dalia Grybauskaitė, and the First Lady of Lithuania Diana Nausėdienė, attended the event as well.

Vaida Kisieliūtė, Diana Nausėdienė, Arja Makkonen (ambassador of Finland), Edita Tamošiūnaitė and Santa Claus cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the ICCB, by Lukas BARBIER

The opening ceremony ended with the cutting of the ribbon by the main organizers: Vaida Kisieliūtė (chairwoman of IWAV), Diana Nausėdienė (First Lady of Lithuania), Arja Makkonen (ambassador of Finland) and Edita Tamošiūnaitė (Vice-mayor of Vilnius).

The First Lady of Lithuania, Diana Nausėdienė, giving a speech at the ICCB, by Lukas BARBIER

Vaida Kisieliūtė, the chairwoman of IWAV and chief organizer of the Bazaar, discussed the event and the role of the International Women’s Association of Vilnius in the project.

What is the aim of the International Charity Christmas Bazaar?


Dalia Grybauskaitė showed up at the event in front of the British embassy’s stand, by Lukas BARBIER

 “This is the only gathering taking place in Lithuania, where you can see a specific country’s culture, meet people, talk in English, Finnish or, I don’t know, German or in any other language,” said the chairwoman.

Organized in cooperation with Lithuania’s international diplomatic and business communities, contributors help prepare souvenirs, hand-made crafts, and other Christmas products. Then, all of the proceeds made from the event are donated to various carefully chosen Lithuanian charities to help those who need it the most.

According to their website, the Bazaar has raised more than 1 million euros since its beginning.

What is the International Women’s Association of Vilnius?

The IWAV boutique stand, by Lukas BARBIER

“The International Women’s Association is the main organizer of this fair. The association is comprised of 80 female volunteers who, in one way or another, contribute to its activities and participated in bringing this event to fruition. We have already been doing all of this for 19 years in a row as organizers. Women in the association don’t get any salaries; this is completely voluntary work,” stressed Kisieliūtė.

The chairwoman of the International Women’s Association of Vilnius, Vaida Kisieliūtė, makes an opening speech, by Lukas BARBIER

An event troubled by Covid-19

According to the chairwoman, the situation with the pandemic was worrying. So many things were being done without knowing if permits would be given out.

Ambassadors and Consuls attend the opening of the ICCB by Lukas BARBIER

For example, the prospect of getting Austrian goods to Lithuania was unclear. In addition, it was unknown if all of the embassies would be able to present their own products.

The stands of the United States and Ukrainian embassies, by Lukas BARBIER

Yet, they succeeded in the challenge of organizing the biggest get-together with embassies of the year by staying inside the Covid-19 guidelines and following restrictions.

The ambassador of France, Alix Everard, by Lukas BARBIER

“The previous year was done virtually. Even though the Bazaar was conducted online, a lot of embassies participated in it, but what does participating virtually mean when we can be here in person?” concluded the chairwoman.

Traditional singers dance and sing at the event, by Lukas BARBIER

Lukas BARBIER

www.lukasbarbier.com

Email: lukas@lukasbarbier.com

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