What’s On is keen to know what is on the festive agenda for this year’s event, so we pay a visit to IWCK HQ. We are met by Dutchwoman and IWCK President Nel Kortsmit, her Vice President Nadia Mosanu from Romania, and Ukrainian staffers Head of Fundraising Marina Muzychenko and Head of Charity Natalia Mustafina who open up about this year’s Charity Bazaar.
Checks And Balances
The main aim of the Charity Bazaar is to raise money for grants, which will be later distributed to organisations in need of funding. The process is stringent. From January through to March organisations are required to apply for a share of the grants and need to present a raft of information about their activities as well as the plan or project the money will be used for. Consideration of applications is, as a rule, done by several people who review each proposal to see if it stacks up enough for the applicant to go to the next round.
The second stage is fact-finding, and IWCK members personally visit the organisations to see with their own eyes their work and check the information provided in the application is consistent and reliable. At the final stage, applications are reviewed and their merits debated. The numbers pay testament to the success of the Bazaar and IWCK as a charitable force. Last year, from 47 applicants, 16 non-governmental organisations were selected.
From 8,200 visitors to the Bazaar last year, IWCK raised 1.9 million hryvnias in a single day. This year they want to exceed those numbers, but still admit that you can never be 100% sure. At minimum, they at least want to match last year’s tally. However, more money raised means more organisations get support.
Behind The Scenes
The organisation of the Bazaar is complex, time-consuming, and time-dependent. Coordination of all the activities needs planning, structure, and timing. As Head of Fundraising, Marina Muzychenko says she starts preparations from summer. The women of IWCK see the Bazaar not only as a great way to raise money for new grants but also to raise awareness of the good work of those organisations that have received grants in the past. The organisers say this year’s event will have an Olympiad-like flavour due to the upcoming Sochi Olympics. And like the Olympics, the Bazaar will be international with booths from the embassies of 38 countries offering up their cuisine and culture.
The list of embassies participating in the Bazaar grows year-on-year, and newcomers include Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Slovenia, and Slovakia. Like the Olympic rings, all the continents are represented. What exactly each of the nations present have in store is anyone’s guess according to IWCK President Nel Kortsmit. “Every embassy organises its own booth, so for us it is also a surprise. It is a beautiful way for people in Kyiv to experience the world. The world comes to Kyiv to show what it’s got.” Muzychenko pipes in, “And no one needs visas!”
The Bazaar will also have IWCK-(wo)manned booths, an art corner, a boutique with clothing, and an area where you can simply sit and converse with family or friends. A lot of activities are geared towards children, with games, contests and crafts to keep the little ones occupied. The programme also includes a concert with performances from embassies.
Entertainment With A Purpose
Head of Charity Natalia Mustafina sums up the Bazaar as a fun event with a soul: “The Bazaar is always a fun way to help charity!” Kortsmit agrees: “I want to give back to the country I have been living in for a couple of years now. I am a guest here, this is my host country.”
According to Vice President Nadia Mosanu, IWCK takes that “giving back” very seriously. “It is very important work. You feel a responsibility to help others. We have a strong belief that our work is very necessary.” However, Muzychenko says having fun at the event is the main goal – there are no expectations placed on visitors, no hard sell. “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend. The main aim is to support those who really need it. We and the embassies do it for that.”
So to capture a little Christmas magic and give a little back for the favour, be sure to check out this year’s Charity Bazaar.
21st IWCK charity bazaar
7 December at 10.00 – 17.00
Kyiv Expo Centre (Salutna Pl 2-b, M Nyvky)
Tickets: 50hrv – adults, 10hrv – children
by Olga German