On the last Wednesday of every month, Roxana Sarsopti from Argentina organises a breakfast for friends at her plush apartment in DLF Golf Course in Gurgaon.
It is attended by 30 to 35 women, all from the expatriate community and most of them housewives.
But don’t mistake this for a kitty party.
They are fund raising events to support some charitable organisations in Delhi and Gurgaon.
The all women’s breakfast also holds cooking classes for free and the cost of attending it is a contribution of at least Rs 500.
The money collected is used for buying food, medicines, clothes, etc. for orphanages and homes for the elderly and destitute.
“The breakfast was started three years ago by a friend, who has since moved to the US. I took over the breakfast in June this year,” said Sarsopti. “Expat women come, socialise and contribute their bit towards charity.”
The breakfast brings together women of various nationalities, but a majority of them are the wives of expatriate pilots from Latin America working with different airlines in India. Some of them are also single, working women.
The breakfast is meticulously planned. Sarsopti sends an email to everyone in the group. It mentions what is there on the menu, but not the cost of attending it.
“By now, everyone knows the real purpose of the breakfast. So, everyone who comes contributes at least Rs 500,” said Sarsopti.
There are new faces every few months, with expatriates regularly moving in and out of India.
And what is on the menu?
Flan (an Italian sweet dish), Empanadas (South American stuffed bread) and homemade pizzas, which are favourite with children who come with their mothers.
Ask Sarsopti why no men are invited to it, and she tells you, laughing aloud, “Well, men eat too much. Cooking for 30 men is equal to cooking for 90 women.”
Most of the women who participate in the breakfast were working before they came to India.
“Most of us are in India only for 1-2 years. So, we do not want to take up jobs,” said Teena Patel from UK who gives cooking lessons at the breakfast. “The breakfast also gives us an opportunity to make new friends and socialise.”
Maria Isabele Molina from Guatemala said she always wanted to do something for the less privileged and that draws her to the breakfast.
“In my country, I was working and never got time for it,” she said. “I am glad that in India I have been able to fulfill my long-cherished desire.”
Single and working women like Katarzyna Miaskiewicz, 25, from Poland find it a place where they can share their lives while extending help to charity projects.
“I pretty much fit in the group. We talk about everything — our lives, happenings in Delhi and the charity projects,” said Miaskiewicz. “Through this fund-raising breakfast, I have found many like-minded friends, but what gives me more satisfaction is that I have been able to do my bit for society.”
Though men are not allowed at the breakfast, many have been roped in by their wives to contribute to the charity.
“I regularly visit the homes and shelter for the destitute that my wife is supporting,” said Jose Wainer from Venezuela, who is working as a pilot with Kingfisher Airlines.
These women are primarily supporting The Shelter Progetto India, a shelter for homeless and orphaned children at Sohna Road, Gurgaon, and Antiodaya Niketan, a home for the sick and the destitute at Kashmiri Gate run by Compassionate Missionaries.
In April last, these women donated a brand new Tata Sumo to the Shelter Progetto India.