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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indian Bazaar to Help Orphanages

Members of the Indian Women's Association are offering Muscovites a chance to sample their country's diverse cultures at the first Indian Bazaar on Saturday.

Proceeds from the bazaar will go to charities the association has been helping for eight years. Among them are Moscow's Children's Home No. 11, the children's ward at Russia's biggest cancer research center, and efforts to help orphans, the elderly and the homeless by the religious order founded by Mother Theresa.

Another beneficiary will be the Al-Zakyat Foundation in Kazan for children with severe medical problems, which association president Nilima Lambah recently visited.

"Our objective is to make a success," said Lambah, who is the wife of Indian Ambassador S.K. Lambah. "Whatever comes we'll give to charities."

The bazaar was organized with the active participation of Indian businesses in Moscow. About 40 stalls to be set up next to the embassy on Saturday will sell a wide collection of Indian products, ranging from intricate handicrafts to authentic soft wool Pashmina shawls. There will also be cosmetics, linen and silk clothes, scarves and spices.

It will be a one-day festival of Indian culture, with folk dances performed by Russian students of the embassy's Djawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center, plus traditional food and music.

The bazaar will showcase India as a country with a striking diversity of cultures, languages and cuisines, Lambah said, "We are trying to give people a taste of India."

The bazaar is aimed at both children and adults, with children's games and a $1 raffle. Prizes include round-trip tickets to Rome and Helsinki, a two-night stay at the Radisson Slavjanskaya and St. Petersburg Grand Europa hotels, $50 gift vouchers at Moscow's Britansky Dom department store and a suit from Italian fabric custom tailored for the winner.

The idea for the bazaar grew out of the Dewali Mela Day fair the association has organized for the Indian community for the past few years to celebrate the traditional Indian festival of lights at the end of October. Proceeds from Dewali Mela, too, went to charities.

The association prefers to donate medicine, furniture and pieces of equipment, according to specific needs of a particular orphanage, rather than money.

"Giving things is much more satisfying than money," said Madhu Sajjanhar, former secretary of the Indian Women's Association, which has about 70 members.

Children's Home No. 11 has received carpeting, curtains, clothes, chairs and technical equipment from the Indian women over the years, said Lidiya Slyusareva, the orphanage's director. The kids are invited to Christmas parties at the embassy every year and recognize association members who visit regularly.

"All help is substantial to an orphanage like ours," Slyusareva said. "They don't make a distinction between our children and their own. They have a big, kind heart and enough love for everybody."

What is particularly appreciated, she added, is that the Indians continue to support Russian children even at times of major disasters in their home country, like an earthquake several years ago, while local authorities are often unable to help.

Lambah's concern was of a more mundane nature.

"We are pretty well organized and all we need now is help from above," she said with a laugh. "We need good weather."

The Bazaar will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the courtyard of the Indian Embassy, at 6-8 Ulitsa Vorontsovo Pole. Tel. 917-4209. Nearest metro: Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya. Admission is free.