Netherlands Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina


On Saturday 3rd December 2016, nearly 40 embassies and over 70 NGOs and Vendors from BiH came together to hold the biggest ever Diplomatic Winter Bazaar in the Mirza Delibasic hall at Skenderija, Sarajevo. The event raised an incredible 130,000KM which will be shared between 9 charities that work with disadvantaged children in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar, Doboj and the Srebrenica region.

Three charities operating in Republika Srpska are set to share 45,000KM to support their important work. 

  • Downsy i Mi, a parent-run association for children with Downs Syndrome based in Banja Luka, impressed the committee with the speech therapy project which they ran last year, in which children previously unable to talk made huge strides in their speech skills, and so will receive 20,000KM to continue this life-changing teaching.
  • Prijateljska kuća is a small organisation providing a true “home”, security and stability for 9 children from challenging family situations in Doboj.  The DWB is pleased to donate 10,000KM this year which will contribute to the scholarship fund for one young adult to study at university as well as improving the living conditions of all the children.
  • SOS Srebrenica project will receive 15,000KM for a family strengthening project which will support families at risk of separation in the rural areas surrounding Srebrenica. 

Other charities set to benefit include the Christine Witcutt Centre for children with severe special needs in Sarajevo, and Los Rosales orphanage in Mostar.

Cheques to Downsy i Mi and Prijateljska kuća were presented at a special press conference in Banja Luka on Monday, 13 February 2017

So how did the bazaar raise so much money this year? “ Thanks to the incredible generosity of all the corporate sponsors this year” says Caroline Ferguson, wife of British Ambassador to BiH and member of the Organising Committee, “ the sponsorship covered the costs of holding the event, so that every KM spent at the bazaar on the day went direct to charity. We are especially grateful to the largest sponsors, EFT and Mineco, and also to the Government of Sarajevo Kanton who kindly gave us Skenderija for free.”

A record number of visitors attended the event and together the diplomatic community with their host nation worked hard to host a fun day and at the same time raise much needed money for children in need in BiH.

“The focus for us on the Organising Committee is always the children – both at the event and those who benefit as a result of the event”, said Sandra Horowitz, wife of the Deputy Head of Mission at the American Embassy in BiH. “The children we support through the charities are all too often invisible and marginalised – none of them chose their circumstances, whether they are orphans or living with special needs, and we hope that our financial support can help to improve their quality of life.”

Mariette Kraak, wife of the Dutch ambassador to BiH, who has been involved in organising the Diplomatic Winter Bazaar for the last 3 years and for whom last December’s event was sadly her last bazaar in BiH, summed up what the bazaar means to her. “ I have lived in many countries in the world over the course of my husband’s diplomatic career, and I think the most rewarding and worthwhile part of my time has been supporting these charities in BiH. They are without exception desperately under-funded and under-resourced and it is of course the children who suffer. BiH must look to its future and these children are the key to that future.”