Islamabad, 27 November 2021 (TDI): The Pakistan Foreign Office Women’s Association (PFOWA) held its annual charity bazaar in Islamabad today on Saturday, 27th November offering diplomats a venue to raise donations for underprivileged members of the society.

The bazaar was inaugurated by First Lady Samina Alvi which was held in the lawns of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), where diplomats’ families put up stalls to showcase their respective national and cultural diversity.

Samina Alvi
First Lady Samina Alvi inaugurated the bazaar held at the lawns of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), where families of diplomats set up stalls showcasing their respective national and cultural diversity.

The MoFA’s signature event was intended to raise funds for its low-income employees’ families in the fields of education, health, and social welfare.

Stalls were set up by Embassies from a number of countries, including China, Turkey, Maldives, Belgium, Netherlands, Thailand, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the European Union, and many more, as well as by educational institutions and private firms.

Stall organized by the Embassy of Belgium

Stalls by Embassies Of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries

Stall set up by Maldivian Embassy

Stall by the Turkish Embassy

Netherland’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Wouter Plomp tweeted:

The three winners of Sjoelbakken (Also known as Dutch Shuffleboard, Sjoelbak is the board for a game called Sjoelen played mainly in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany), Amna, Bilal, and Ahmad were also announced later.

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara tweeted:

The Bazaar provides women a huge opportunity to showcase their potential and capabilities. Addressing the opening ceremony of the annual charity bazaar, First Lady Samina Alvi stated that empowering women by making them self-sufficient is critical for them to play a productive role in their families and society. She added that the government has taken a number of steps to promote women’s independence.

First Lady Samina Alvi
Samina Alvi appreciates women who participated in the charity bazaar.

The first lady highlighted the government’s women-specific easy loan initiatives and urged people to never overlook differently-abled persons, instead of developing inclusivity for them.

The bazaar, she claimed, became a source of cultural affinity and social contacts in addition to its charitable aspect. She believed that the activity will benefit needy people while also boosting national culture.

She urged for the exchange of artists to promote art and produce economic activity, referring to the display of artisan’s work at markets.

The first lady, who also went on a round of the bazaar and spoke with stall owners, urged educational institutions to provide skills and training to their students, which she said was necessary to improve their acceptability in the market.

Samina Alvi
First Lady Samina Alvi interacting with children attending the Bazaar.

She praised the PFOWA for continuing to provide philanthropic services throughout the epidemic and for participating in a breast cancer awareness campaign.

Samina Alvi reiterated her message, asking the women to take just five minutes to conduct a self-examination in order to detect breast cancer early.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood had previously stated that the bazaar has become a part of Islamabad’s social calendar, helping to fundraise.

PFOWA, he said, has effectively carried on the heritage of its founders through its pro-poor and welfare efforts as a vital pillar of the Foreign Office.

He stated that the Association actively participated in raising breast cancer awareness as well as assisting people in disaster-stricken areas.

The bazaar’s goal, according to PFOWA Patron Mehreen Qureshi, is to develop a better understanding of Pakistan and to fund charity activities.

She claimed that the display of various cultures and cuisines created a festive and joyful atmosphere. She stated that the funds earned through the bazaar would be used to help the poor, notably low-paid Foreign Office staff.

PFOWA President Mehvish Sohail stated the organization’s outreach effort helped provide education and health services in many places.

Because generosity was at the center of the activity, she believed the bazaar would help make a difference in other people’s lives.

Cultural performances by children and artists from other nations, including Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Maldives, and others, were also featured during the event.

PFOWA, which was founded in 1947 on the recommendation of Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan by its first patron Shaista Ikramullah, is effectively carrying on the philanthropic heritage.

Glimpses of stalls by diff countries at Pakistan Foreign Office Women Association’s Charity Bazaar in Islamabad.