ISLAMABAD: An association comprising foreign nationals in Pakistan’s capital city held a fundraiser food festival featuring cuisines of at least 19 countries on Saturday to help underprivileged people “fulfill their dreams and aspirations,” an organizer said.
To support education and health institutes for women and children in Pakistan’s impoverished localities, a food festival was organized by the Islamabad Foreign Women Association (IFWA) which was attended by Pakistan’s First Lady Samina Alvi, ambassadors, and top diplomats in the capital.
The IFWA is a non-political, non-profit organization established in 1995 by wives of ambassadors posted in Islamabad to help the “underprivileged and disadvantaged women and their children, and to raise funds for their benefit.”
Cuisines from 19 different countries, including Pakistan, were served at the fundraiser.
“IFWA is organizing this [event] to get funds for our charity fund and the money will be used to support different projects,” Irena Smetankova, IFWA president and wife of the ambassador of Czech Republic, told Arab News.
“We are soliciting projects from groups of people who need support, mainly women and children,” she added.
Smetankova said the idea of the food festival was to bring people together to share food and explore different cultures under one roof.
Dr. Magdalena Whoolery, an Indonesian expatriate, said she was feeling “homesick,” adding that the fundraiser provided her an opportunity to taste food from her country and explore other cuisines.
“We need to promote traditional, nutritious, and ingenious food to counter junk food,” Whoolery told Arab News.
While several dishes were served to attendees, Moroccan dishes were one of the most popular cuisines served at the event. Some of the Moroccan items savored at the lunch were Chicken Tagine, Beef Tagine, Kush Kush vegetables, Zaalouk salad, and the most popular item of the fundraiser, Moroccan tea.
“Moroccan tea is famous around the world,” chef Abdullah Elgayi told Arab News as he served tea to his French counterpart at the event.
Elgayi said people “love it” because the tea has a mixture of special leaves and mint.
Indonesian embassy official, Devi, also lavished praise on Moroccan tea, describing its flavor as “refreshing and energizing.”
At the Moroccan stall, World Bank Group official Charles Schneider applauded organizers for bringing different cuisines to the table, saying that “he loved” food from Morocco and Egypt.
“I wish some restaurant would do that, pull all the food together,” he quipped.
The IFWA president also announced organizing future events, including an upcoming biannual charity bazaar, in Islamabad on May 28.