The Bazar International is Luxembourg's largest annual fundraising event. Although run by a voluntary Committee, it is highly professional and requires great commitment and planning from participants. Inclusion is not automatic. Representatives of cultural communities must demonstrate thorough preparation and research, not only regarding the wares to be offered at each stand, but also the bona fides of the charities that they nominate to benefit from the proceeds.
Each community may nominate two
charities in or related to their country of origin, and must also nominate two in developing countries. A comprehensive file explaining needs, potential benefits and fiscal management responsibility for each charity must be presented. The Committee collects and distributes the money through (at last count) 92 projects. There are four meetings over the course of a year, where the Committee meets with the Heads of Stands. Some involve planning for the next event, and others feedback for the recent events.
It's hard work. Besides the meetings with the Committee, each Stand has its own set of volunteers to organise, produce and goods to locate and import, food to make, cakes to bake, and wares to price and display. After all the meetings, the Thursday and Friday before the weekend are consumed with set-up, cooking and baking. On the Saturday and Sunday of the Bazar itself, volunteers welcome and serve the thousands of people who attend. Through it all, Liliane Lamberty-Atallah, head of the Lebanon stand, is on her feet, encouraging, guiding, overseeing, but also welcoming all comers with her characteristic enthusiasm and charm.
Liliane wants to encourage younger people to take on the challenge. She says, “By Sunday evening, we're all exhausted. But it's worth it. Everyone has a great time. And then the February meeting is the most exciting of the year! Then we learn the exact figures – how much was earned after costs, and the exact distribution to the charities. It's so good to see how all that hard work has paid off!”