Life Member YWCA of Bangkok
The festive seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas are soon arriving, only a few weeks before the preparation of year end gifts exchange. The 67th YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar is scheduled for November 13 – 15th at CentralWorld this year. The annual event has provided excellent opportunity to shop for exquisite and popular overseas products from around the world. With the current challenges from Covid-19, Young Women’s Christian Association of Bangkok (YWCA of Bangkok) has adapted to the “New Normal” guidelines by reducing the number of booths to allow shoppers to adhere to social distancing measures. (The online event is separate to the diplomatic charity bazaar).
Expat Life covered the history of the YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar in 2019, this year we are here to learn what products are in store for 2020 event.
Mrs. Usana Sukhothsub, President of YWCA of Bangkok shared, “Many exciting products will be on display. To name a few, China (Panda toys and Peking opera miniature, Denmark (food supplements, Danish cheese), Germany (skincare, food and silver jewellery), Nepal (100% Pashmina), New Zealand (Manuka honey and skincare products), Peru (handicrafts) and Spain (100% vegan skincare products).”
Due to social distancing policy, the number of booths at this years Bazaar will be significantly decreased by 40% compared to last year. On the other hand, for the first time in the event history, YWCA of Bangkok will organise “YWCA Online Charity Bazaar 2020,” an online marketplace during 1st November – 31st December 2020, for the first time to be a part of fundraising for contribution to charity projects. President Usana explained, “YWCA Online Charity Bazaar 2020 is initially created to offer more opportunities for vendors to participate in fundraising, to reach more groups of shoppers not only in Bangkok but throughout Thailand and to bring proceeds in conjunction with the funds raised from the traditional bazaar.”
The channels of newly launched YWCA online sales will be:
Facebook Page: YWCA Charity Bazaar Instagram: ywca.charitybazaar
To cope with the current situation of Covid-19, President Usana disclosed their well planned measures to adhere to social distancing requirements at the Diplomatic Charity Bazaar. “I would like to express my gratitude towards CPN/CentralWorld which have continuously participated in co organising the event for many years. For this year’s, 67th Diplomatic Charity Bazaar, the emphasis is on “CentralWorld’s Hygiene and Safety measures during COVID-19” by following the masterplan according to Ministry of Public Health’s guidelines for the safety of our shoppers, vendors and employees. Revealing further, “Extra screening will be required for everyone with body temperature checks upon entering CentralWorld and wearing face masks will be mandatory at all times. All vendors and employees will apply the 5 Shields concept: Face Shield/Food Shield/Table Shield/Counter Shield/Cashier Shield. There will be safety tracking of all employees’ health and travel records prior to starting work each day. Extra cleaning will take place at every touch point every 30 minutes throughout the day in the shopping centre and in all stores. During the event, touch less experience will be in place by encouraging cashless and e payments for all goods purchased.”
YWCA Diplomatic Executive Committee 2020
Madame Christina Macpherson, Spouse of the Ambassador of New Zealand
The Chairperson of YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar is Madame Christina (Chrissy) Macpherson from New Zealand. In addition to being the Spouse of H.E. New Zealand Ambassador Taha Macpherson, she is the President of SHOM (Spouses of the Heads of Mission).
On an annual basis, the Bazaar has raised a significant amount of money that supports many local Thai charities. Expat Life asked Madame Chrissy what her vision and strategy is to deal with the current challenges with social distancing. She replied, “I am really honoured to undertake the role of incoming Chairperson of the Diplomatic Executive Committee for YWCA this year. It is my hope that the committee, with the guidance and support of YWCA representatives and the Executive Board, which is led by Madam President, Mrs. Usana Sukhonthsab and includes advisory members Mrs. Suvimol Mahagitsiri, M.L. Poomchai Chumbala and Mrs. Sirin Artinian, can plan and implement a safe and successful 67th YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar at CentralWorld in November. As in previous years, we are grateful to participating embassies, vendors and partners for their involvement to help make this annual event possible. We are also very appreciative to the CPN for their gracious gift of space, support with organising and for hosting the event each year at CentralWorld.”
This is the second year of Madame Chrissy was involved when she undertook the role of Embassy Coordinator upon invitation by 2019 Chairperson, Madame Olga Tapiola. Madame Chrissy recalled her participation last year, “I found it to be a very interesting and enriching experience. In 2019, the diplomatic bazaar raised funds that contributed to a number of charity projects in the areas of community health, scholarships, quality of life, natural disaster and emergency relief, status promotion of children and women and education infrastructure improvement.
This year poses particular challenges with Covid-19. Madame Chrissy shared the measures to be undertaken, “There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact around the world. I am confident that YWCA here in Bangkok will work closely with CPN this year to take appropriate measures to ensure visitor safety including taking body temperature, applying hand sanitiser, the hygienic serving of food and maintaining social distance among visitors. We will also likely see a reduction of booths this year to allow safe social distancing.”
Madame Anima Acharya Dhakal, Spouse of the Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
A new face to the Committee is Madame Anima Acharya Dhakal, Spouse of H.E. Nepalese Ambassador Ganesh Prasad Dhakal. Madame Anima has been associated with this YWCA Diplomatic Bazaar Committee since June 2020 and currently holds the position of Secretary. “When I was approached by the Embassy Coordinator of 2019 Mrs. Christina Macpherson to volunteer as Secretary, I happily accepted it. As YWCA raises funds for various charitable works, I am interested in dedicating my free time as a volunteer. The role of the Secretary is to keep up with the YWCA Diplomatic Bazaar Committee meetings while staying in contacts with other Diplomatic Executive Committee members and Executive Board members.”
Due to Covid-19 situation, the Diplomatic Charity Bazaar has also been affected. Madame Anima explained, “The Bazaar Committee has had to reduce the number of booths for the participating missions and to compensate the sales volume it has to introduce the new scheme of “YWCA Online Charity Bazaar 2020” which is expected to attract many potential customers beyond Bangkok. The customers can also enjoy the product of their choice from various countries at their doorstep. The Bazaar has had to be arranged in a way to strictly follow all safety measures and guidelines with regard to Covid-19.”
Madame Ximena Rios, Spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Peru
It is the first year that Madame Ximena Rios, Spouse of H.E. Peruvian Ambassador Fernando Quiros, volunteered on the Diplomatic committee, again through invitation by Madame Chrissy, the current Chairperson. “It was an honour to be invited and I am happy to contribute in any way. I am currently Chairperson of the Red Cross Diplomatic Bazaar and I am very motivated to do volunteer work in general. I see how active this Association is when it comes to helping people in need, and I am eager to participate to the best of my ability.”
Sharing the views on the challenges with this project, Madame Ximena admitted, “It is a special year. I would say COVID-19 is a very big challenge. It can probably change the way people participate in terms of going and buying in situ. I think it will be very important to communicate and promote this event in a broader way, showing how important it is to help, especially now when many people are living very difficult times because of this particular pandemic situation. Nevertheless, I am very much enjoying the volunteering work with this event. It is an enriching experience and it is gratifying as well. I like when countries get together and work as a team for a noble cause.”
In 2019, the funds raised from YWCA Diplomatic Bazaar supported more than 40 projects in the areas of education, health, quality of life and victim relief to the underprivileged in Bangkok and other provinces. For all Expat Life in Thailand readers, by visiting and purchasing products at the upcoming 67th YWCA Diplomatic Bazaar scheduled on November 13 – 15th at CentralWorld, we are supporting a very good charity cause as our spending will ultimately benefit the local Thai community and charities.