IWA celebrates 40 years with its Annual Multicultural Charity Christmas Bazaar on 9th December As IWA marks its 40th anniversary, the international community will join together to raise funds for charity while enjoying a multicultural extravaganza of food, entertainment and shopping, at the traditional IWA Multicultural Charity Christmas Bazaar (10am – 4pm, Sunday, December 9th, 2018, RomExpo Pavilion C3). “The International Women’s Association (IWA) of Bucharest’s Charity Committee is a community of women with big hearts, unbounded energy and a deep compassion for underprivileged people. We take our charitable mission extremely seriously, with a hands-on approach to people’s needs, and are eager to support projects that meet our funding criteria. Without funds, however, our mission would be impossible. Our annual Christmas Bazaar is not only our main source of income, but thanks to the generous participation of the diplomatic and business communities, we can bring the world to Bucharest in a multicultural extravaganza of traditional goods, food and drink, music, performances and personal interaction, with all proceeds donated to charity”, says Gladys Abankwa-Meier-Klodt, President IWA – The International Women’s Association of Bucharest. The 2017 edition of the Bazaar saw record participation. The commitment of time and energy was overwhelming, with 51 countries and more than 400 volunteers participating to create true magic. 266,040 lei was raised to support nine humanitarian projects. IWA receives grant requests from NGOs covering a wide range of societal needs. Primary among them are those that support and protect disadvantaged women, children and the elderly: those with mental and physical disabilities, from abusive homes or orphanages; victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse, destitute individuals in dire need of oncological and other medical care but also NGOs preserving Romanian traditions. Every single project is handled with the same dedication and care. Each member of our committee may recommend a project which meets our stringent funding criteria. To ensure an objective process, a 3-person task force with no personal connection to the NGO in question then arranges a visit to the project. A report on the findings is made to the entire committee. Arguments for the project are considered, including those of the proposer, and then a vote – the proposer abstains – decides whether the committee will proceed, alter the amount granted or reject the request all together. Beneficiaries of IWA support over the last two years include Touched Romania, Concordia, MIA Valentina, Dr Mamulea Association, Dani Mercy Charity, Sf. Dimitrie Foundation, Real Madrid Foundation, Swedish Organisation for Humanitarian Help, ADAM, Help the People Association, PRO Act Support, Renasterea Foundation, Jesuit Refugee Services, REMAR, Casa Shalom, Fight for Life and Datini. One project that left a lasting impression on IWA visitors was Touched Romania. It is an NGO that supports and protects abused women victims of human trafficking and their children. The downward-cast glances reflecting the shame they felt, their lack of self-confidence, their resignation to their fate as victims – these were the outward and visible vestiges of terribly sad stories. Most of the abused women grew up in orphanages, then found themselves on the street, where they fell into the hands of pimps. There was a mother who had been trafficked by her own husband. When she got pregnant, he beat her and threw her out, because the child wasn’t his. Other mothers had been discovered, sequestered in a squalid basement without lighting, by police. For some of them, accepting their babies is very difficult, given the fact that the pregnancy was the result of violation. Since it began operations 13 years ago, Touched Romania has changed the lives of hundreds of vulnerable women and children. They are provided with a safe, warm and pleasant place to stay, food and clothes, and receive counselling and training for jobs according to their abilities, along with age-appropriate child care. With our grant, we were able to improve living conditions at Agar House by buying new kitchen furniture. Our largest project of late was a collaboration with Dr Mamulea Association, an organisation that aims to improve the quality of medical services and the efficiency of healthcare in state hospitals by providing new equipment and furniture. The beneficiary of IWA’s grant was Section III of Grigore Alexandrescu Children’s Pediatric Emergency Hospital. At the beginning of the 2017, Dr Mamulea presented 2 perfusion injectomats, 2 aerosol devices and an ECG monitor to the hospital. This summer, making an exception to our funding criteria (NGOs may not submit applications for new projects within 2 years of receiving funds from IWA) and in partnership with Verita International School and 2 other private sponsors, IWA provided a new ultrasound system costing EUR 17,000 to replace equipment acquired in the 1970s. Volunteers from Verita School transformed the space by painting the walls and created a welcoming and appealing lobby area. Knowing how your money will be spent, do join in our celebration without borders on December 9, as the international community unites in the generous spirit of giving to raise funds for worthy causes. What better way to spend a wintry Sunday before Christmas? 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