Stalls displaying paintings and books have been set up at the ‘Happiness Bazar’ organised by the Autism Society of Pakistan at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad on Sunday. — White Star
Stalls displaying paintings and books have been set up at the ‘Happiness Bazar’ organised by the Autism Society of Pakistan at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad on Sunday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: People from all over the city showed up to support local businesses, mostly run by women, at The Happiness Bazar (THB) organised at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Sunday.

More than 70 stalls shortlisted by organisers from over 300 registered applicants were set up by brand owners. Stall owners were happy that the event was organised as it gave them an opportunity to promote their products.

The owner of Amber Creations, seller of various gift items, said THB has raised the standard of expectations for sales as they are trendsetters and the event was professionally managed. I am able to sell most of my products at the right price unlike regular exhibitions, she added.

“Thank you for providing us with such a wonderful platform to deal with customers who love handmade and house-based crafts,” said the maker of handcrafted jewellery and stationery.

Founder of THB Zaira Rizvi said with the weather being pleasant, a lot of people turned up at the bazaar and were delighted to witness a well-organised event. Families who had come with their children enjoyed it a lot and a large number of guests were from the local community for autism, she added.

Young Nadia Ikram said it was a wonderful experience to witness high quality items crafted by women at home. She added that similar events must be organised in cities to promote our local crafts.

“Such large scale events are a rarity in Islamabad. I am glad I decided to come here,” said Jawad, a resident of Rawalpindi. He appreciated compliance of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) by visitors and the management.

The visitors, who began to show up from 11am till the last hour, appreciated efforts of THB’s management for providing people a platform to encourage home-based entrepreneurs, ultimately helping in the generation of economic activity.

It depends upon the pandemic situation but we are hoping to add more entrepreneurs and place more stalls next time when the circumstances improve, Ms Zaira said, adding the space today was ample to conduct the bazaar with implementation of SOPs.

Representatives of the Autism Resource Centre Rawalpindi, who teamed up with the hosts for the first time, appreciated the organisers for holding the exhibition. Families that visited their stall gave them positive feedback about activities that they had arranged.

Ms Zaira and her team said they plan to organise similar functions in Lahore and Karachi in the future.

Home-based business owners selling crafts or those offering unique or imported items not available locally or corporations working for a valuable cause are given a platform to interact with people through the initiative.

Politicians, television anchors, celebrities, influencers and social workers, dropped by to support the businesses.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2022

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