WOW | WOW Promotion

AWON CHRISTMAS BAZAAR

Catch the Christmas spirit in a fun day under the winter sun.

Text by: Ankita Jain

A Christmas tree, cheerful decorations, gift stalls and a feeling of Christmas cheer will be everywhere, says Baba Sarkar Shrestha, President, AWON about the upcoming AWON Christmas Bazaar. The annual event is organised by AWON (All Women of Nepal) organisation and will be held on the first Saturday of December at Soaltee Crowne Plaza.

“The idea first came about more than 20 years back. Since then the Christmas Bazaar has been an ongoing event. Earlier it was a small-scale affair organised in 3-4 star hotels and since the past 12 years, the bazaar has come into a lot of limelight,” reminisces Shrestha.

The entire lawn of the hotel will be made festive for this home-grown market. There will be Christmas lights and stars hanging from the trees and most of the stall fronts will have lights, boughs and poinsettias. The Bazaar is one of AWON’s biggest fundraisers. Shrestha shares, “We try and promote our local vendors, especially the lady entrepreneurs and also serve as a bridge between vendors and clients. Most of the expats living in the valley come for their Christmas shopping during the Bazaar. In fact, during the bazaar, vendors tend to sell their products at discounted prices. To achieve a win-win situation for us and the vendors, we charge a fairly nominal price per table. The charges are Rs 4000 for member’s stall, NGO or INGO and Rs 5000 for others. We haven’t increased the table pricing for a very long time. Over the years we have seen the event serve as a platform to build connections. It is a full day family event with several activities especially for children like face painting, games and more.” That’s not all, there is also an assortment of home-made cakes and bakes, plus the attraction of prizes.

“Shoppers can win prizes in the grand raffle. The hotel is also offering discounted rates in their food stalls,” she mentions. AWON is expecting 100+ stalls this season. “Last year, we had 111 tables (all paid) and we had given free tables to NGOs,” she quips.

Talking about the overall journey working with AWON, she smiles, “AWON is an organisation that was founded about 65 years ago by the American embassy women who used to love charity work. Later, other embassy women wanted to join in so they couldn’t call it American. Hence, Active Women of Nepal came into existence. This is the only organisation where both foreign and local women are members. The funds collected through different fundraising activities are thoughtfully distributed in the education sector”.

On a personal note she shares that she has been a member of AWON since her school days, at that time it was mainly to access the 50% discount offered by the AWON library to its members. Baba Sarkar Shrestha has also previously served as the organisation’s Vice President. Being an active member and passionate about the AWON mandate, she has been President for the past two terms.

The AWON Christmas Bazaar will take place on December 1 at Soaltee Crowne Plaza, between 10 am and 5 pm. Entry charges are Rs 100 for adults and Rs 50 for children below 12.