Aleksandar Bogdanovic: On 2 December 2017 Vienna hosted one of the most charitable events in the world: The United Nations Women’s Guild International Festival – Charity Bazaar. Being an UNWG-volunteer myself, I had the opportunity to observe the event during the “show” and behind the curtains.
THE EARLY BEGINNINGS
In 1948, a small group of remarkable women based in Great Neck, N.Y. answered the United Nations most challenging call ever: to rebuild the world. Having had the chance to witness the catastrophic consequences of the war-thorn Europe, those women were determined to pursue the mission of giving a helping hand to needy children for a better life and a brighter future.
Their dedication, sacrifice and engagement have granted them a memorandum from the U.N. in 1967 by which their association became officially recognized as a non-profit charitable organization, nowadays known as “The United Nations Women’s Guild“. The organization today counts more than 500 members from over 100 countries. It operates under the UNWG Constitution which highlights the organization’s core objectives in the following manner:
“The purpose of the Guild shall be to assist children in need and/or mother-child care programs throughout the world, and to serve as a mutual bond and center of interest for women connected with the United Nations Organizations in Vienna.”
THE ANNUAL CHARITY EVENT
Marking the 50th year of the foundation, the UNWG organized this year a unique journey around the world: the annual International Festival – Charity Bazaar at Austria Center Vienna with the support of more than 70 nations from all over the world, including also European member states such as Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland and Romania. Many countries, embassies, Permanent Missions to the U.N. as well as different companies and NGOs have joined forces to collect donations for children in need by providing with various authentic dishes, artworks, crafts, Christmas gifts and more.
Several thousands of people visited the Bazaar and the outcome was outstanding – the world became a better place for a moment, in which differences are celebrated, every culture and religions are equally respected, and everyone had a great time. All financial means collected during the Bazaar are going to be allocated for children in need in Europe and all around the world with a range of services, such as medical equipment, clean drinking water, nutritional aid, and other essential supplies.
One cannot do everything, but everyone can do something. Only in 2016, the total amount collected from numerous UNWG’s charitable activities and the annual International Festival was € 247,835, which benefited 33 organizations in 30 countries or more precisely: 14.968 children and 5.822 women.
I could not have enough words to express how motivated, enthusiastic and overly-engaged were women who organized this year’s Bazaar and ensured that it was a success. I thank most heartily to Kathy, Meryem, Lana and Nancy for their very best support!
Conclusively, I urge the local and international community to further support the essential work of the UNWG. There is no greater pleasure in life than being able to assist and serve other people and as a former managing editor of Scouting magazine Mr Forest Witcraft once said:
“One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.”
Sources and credits:
 On UNWG’s establishment history: http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/40c50c_23253564c0bf40268ed09da45cad1de6.pdf
Cover photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/3546066619/in/album-72157618489342030/