International women throw ball, raise money for orphanage

The International Women’s Association of Krakow (IWAK) held their annual Christmas Charity Ball at the Stary Hotel last Saturday.

Over 80 guests attended the lavish, black-tie gala dinner and dance that brought together people from international business and politics, with a connection to Krakow. As every year, the members of the organization and their guests gathered to support the association’s charity initiatives by bidding in live and silent auctions and trying their luck in a raffle.

The guests enjoyed an excellent dinner, interrupted by the arrival of unexpected but always welcome guest – Santa Claus – who kindly agreed to lead the auction. Santa skillfully encouraged guests to part with their money and bid on the various items IWAK members put up for auction.

The list included a reflexology and hot stone therapy, brunch voucher, henna painting session, Indian cooking lesson, and Ashanga Yoga training. The top item of the night was a flat screen television donated by Tesco. Other high bids were made for a commissioned abstract painting by Andrenus O’Hara and a guided tour by Konrad Oswiecimski.

The guests then hit the dance floor after the auction and raffles closed and partied into the early hours of Sunday morning.
This year’s IWAK’s Annual Ball raised 19,760 zloty which is a great success. The association awards the proceeds to different recipients each year. This year IWAK has chosen the Jana Brzechwy Children’s Home to be the beneficiary of the ball.

IWAK is a non-profit, multicultural, social and family oriented organization, gathering women from the international community in Krakow. The association provides a wide range of interest groups, social events and activities for expatriates and their families. Charity is another important part of the organization’s mission.

“There is a lot of need in Krakow. It is a human tradition to help others. A lot of women in our organization have worked for charity since they were teenagers and they want to continue it here,” explains Gosia Lalanne, the president of the association. However, Lalanne says foreigners dedicated to helping charities often face disbelief and mistrust from a skeptical community.

“Many people find it suspicious that a foreigner wants to work hard for no money. This is something new in Polish society,” she adds. Yet, most institutions gladly accept financial help.
The members of the Association are aware of the fact that, as expatriates, they enjoy a privileged lifestyle in Krakow and they feel it’s their responsibility to use their time, talents and resources to help others.

“It’s important that people understand that immigrants actually do something good. We don’t come here to steal people’s jobs or live ?better lives’. We are here also to help,” said Lalanne.

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