Int'l charity bazaar to open in HCMC

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Twenty-one countries are expected to participate in a charity bazaar organized by diplomats' wives, next month, in Ho Chi Minh City. The event is being held to raise money for disadvantaged people in southern Vietnam.

The 17th annual bazaar will be held by the Consular Club of HCMC at the Legend Hotel Saigon from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 20.

Participating countries will sell goods and food from all over the world at this year's event.

The club president, Heleen Schellaarsvan Berkel, said last year's bazaar raised over VND1,4 billion (currently US$71,966) and the proceeds have been used to fund 24 charity projects so far.

The projects include: supplying school materials to 400 children from poor families in HCMC's Can Gio District, donating food to disadvantaged schoolgirls in Tra Vinh Province, providing computers and training for hearing-impaired students in Dong Nai Province and providing scholarships for students in Long An Province.

"The fees are very reasonable," Schellaars-van Berkel told Thanh Nien Weekly. "The raffle prizes are very attractive (airline tickets, household appliances, etc.), the food from the various countries is delicious, the souvenirs are unique and not to be found anywhere else in HCMC. This day provides a wonderful outing for the whole family."

In addition to buying goods and food, visitors can purchase tickets for a raffle, which is scheduled to be drawn at 1 p.m. All of the raffle prizes are valued at more than $100. Santa Claus will be there to have his photo taken with children and adults. Entry tickets cost VND50,000 for adults. Children under 10 accompanied by an adult do not have to pay an entrance fee.

The Consular Club of HCMC is a non-profit organization whose members are mainly the spouses of Consul-Generals, trade representatives and consulate staff. This year marks the group's 15th anniversary.

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