The volunteers of Hinrich Foundation namely, (L-R) Brandon Smith, Annabet Martens, Haoqi Wu, Lorie Ann Cascaro and Suri Huang, pose during the Charity Bazaar at Hong Kong Parkview.
The volunteers of Hinrich Foundation namely, (L-R) Brandon Smith, Annabet Martens, Haoqi Wu, Lorie Ann Cascaro and Suri Huang, pose during the Charity Bazaar at Hong Kong Parkview.

The autumn breeze created a cool atmosphere in the Charity Bazaar at Hong Kong Parkview in October. The standing poster of Hinrich Foundation waved as the wind blew through tens of booths and tenants at the bazaar. It says, “Lovely handmade silk gifts from Cambodia.”

A girl chooses an animal from the silk handmade decoration made from Cambodia at Hinrich Foundation’s booth during the Charity Bazaar at Hong Kong Parkview in October.
A girl chooses an animal from the silk handmade decoration made from Cambodia at Hinrich Foundation’s booth during the Charity Bazaar at Hong Kong Parkview in October.

Next to it was a table with a small Christmas tree, decorated by hanging miniatures of animals, mostly in pink, red, yellow and green. They were swaying by the wind’s compass. Their colors and shapes caught the children’s attention.

“I’ll take a Pegasus,” a Caucasian boy told his mate as he took a handmade silk decor in a shape of a horse with wings, adding, “I had elephant  last year.”

It was the third year of HF scholars attending the charity bazaar to sell Cambodia products. Some of the kids, who were at the bazaar last year, bought at least one of the animals with new designs. This year the scholars also introduced more products such as jewelries and lady bags made from fish nets.

“Your purchases will make a difference,” Haoqi Wu from Hong Kong Baptist University told the potential buyers. She explained that the handicapped people in Cambodia made the products and the income from the bazaar would support them.

Hard selling

The scholars targeted higher sales than that of last year. “We have to do hard selling,” Suri Huang, another HKBU scholar and HF coordinator, told other volunteers in the booth. She thought of walking around the venue to sell the decors and reach more kids, but Brandon Smith, president of eMedia Asia Ltd of Global Sources, who came to support the HF team, told them to keep the selling at the booth instead. “If they’d allow us to do it, there would be chaos as others would do the same,” he explained.

Nevertheless, many kids stopped by the Christmas tree and picked up their favorite animals in colors that they like. Their parents, who pay for them, sometimes, did the final selection. Some girls looked at the booth and said they wanted to help but did not have enough money. “I bought one of these last year. I’ll donate this instead,” a girl said, handing over a 10 Hong Kong dollar coin from her wallet.

Fascinated by the Cambodian products, Smith bought bracelets as gifts for his kids and friends. Another volunteer, Annabat Martens, director of Visual Merchandising and Art Team, APAC, Fossil Group, got a couple of those hanging animals to decorate her house.

At the end of the day, the scholars did not reach their target, but they were optimistic to do better next year by adjusting booth location or introducing more popular products like elephants, Huang said.

“Even though the sales is a small contribution in creating jobs for poor manufacturers in Cambodia, we want to put our continual support on this program and try to make a difference in their lives,” she said.

About the Author – Lorie Ann Cascaro

Lorie Ann Cascaro

Lorie Ann Cascaro was awarded the Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholarship in August 2014 to pursue M.A. in International Journalism Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. She graduated from the University of Mindanao in Philippines with a bachelor of Arts In English. She would like to become an international journalist and help Hinrich Foundation in its activities after graduation.