One of the highlights of the advent season in Luxembourg, the Bazar International is taking place a little earlier than usual this year. But that will not detract from the celebratory community spirit of the event, nor the crucial objective which is to raise funds that will allow the Bazar to make life changing donations to charities across the globe.
After the 2020 event was cancelled and the 2021 Bazar was held in limited circumstances--visitors had to pre-book entry slots--due to the covid pandemic, it is back to business for the 2022 edition.
“We even have three new stands to add to our family, Afghanistan, Colombia and Kenya. So we're very excited about that,” says the president of the Bazar International Carmen Decalf.
Decalf has been involved in the Bazar since she arrived in Luxembourg over 20 years ago. She took over the presidency from Erika Ehrhard two years ago. In 2021 the board was almost completely redrawn, with fresh officers being elected and a decision was made to reduce it to a much more manageable seven members.
We are proud that we are entirely run by volunteers
Essentially, the Bazar has managed to maintain its impressive contingent of some 1,500 volunteers.
“We are proud that we are entirely run by volunteers, with no overheads, so that all the money we raise goes directly to the projects we are supporting.” There is also enormous solidarity, the president explains, so that although the amount of funds raised by each individual stand may differ all the money is deposited in the common pot for further distribution.
This year the Bazar will support some 43 charities that provide a diverse range of aid to those in need around the world. “The charities are selected very carefully by the board and approved at a general meeting with the heads of all stands. So it’s really democratic.” says Decalf. “They are charities that our members know and that we are certain can have a real impact on the communities they are helping.”
Helping the vulnerable
That includes many projects that help children in vulnerable situations or who need protection from violence and trafficking. A charity in Burkina Faso, for instance, is providing scholarships for girls rescued from forced marriage. Another in Medellin in Colombia is helping social and societal integration of children suffering poverty and violence to integrate in society by learning sports, music, journalism and gardening.
But projects closer to home are also recipients of funds raised at the Bazar. The Plooschter Project, one of three Luxembourg-based charities chosen this year, aims to get as many people as possible to register as stem cell donors and possibly save a leukaemia patient’s life.
Following last year’s decision to open the event on Friday evening, which was necessitated by covid restrictions that limited the number of visitors to the event at any one time, this year’s Bazar International will also be spread over three days. “So you can start the weekend with an after-work exotic drink and a colourful bite surrounded by people from more than 50 nationalities,” says Charlotte de Vreeze, whose roles on the committee include communication, charities and humanitarian projects and fundraising events.
Visiting the Bazar International is like taking a world tour in a day. Around 50 stands representing countries from South America to the Far East via Europe and Africa and the Indian Subcontinent sell food and drink native to their country as well as a range of specialist gifts ideal for the festive season.
This year’s novelties include the Ukraine stand offering beautiful bedlinen and home wear as well as natural lollipops and healthy sweets. The Italian stand has a new winter collection of leather bags and other accessories. The Czech Republic stand will introduce a typical festive open-faced sandwich, the chlebicky. And the French stand will be the only place in Luxembourg where visitors can buy beautiful and luxurious products, including soaps and candles, from renowned perfumery Fragonard.
Entertainment is provided throughout the weekend by folklore dance and music groups. And there will also be special treats for children, including a visit from Kleeschen--Luxembourg’s Santa Claus.
The event is being held earlier than usual as the traditional date at the end of November would clash with the Expogast culinary event, which is hosted at LuxExpo The Box every four years. It is also in a different location--halls 7 and 8--within the exposition venue. That is because LuxExpo The Box is hosting several events as it also catches up with postponements from the pandemic. “It’s basically the same setup, but mirrored,” says de Vreeze. “There’s only one big difference, that people cannot enter through the main entrance.”
Indeed, access to the Bazar is solely via the southern entrance at LuxExpo The Box on rue Carlo Hemmer (across the street from the Auchan).
Friday 11 November: 18:00 – 22:00
Saturday 12 November: 11:00 – 19:00
Sunday 13 November: 11:00 – 17:00
Full details at the Bazar International website.