Sandhya Gupta, In Her Own Words

I was born in New Delhi and obtained a degree in Indian Literature (graduating with honors). I also earned a degree in Textile Design from Delhi University. I am married with 2 adult children.  Since 1992, my husband and I have been based in Milan, Italy. My husband worked for one of the largest travel companies in India and was sent to Milan as the Director for Southern Europe in 1992. Prior to that, he was the Director for the Northern India region based in Delhi. We also lived in the United States before coming to Milan. Presently, I own an Indian Restaurant in Milan and my husband owns his own travel agency.

While I am currently serving as president, I have been a member of the Benvenuto Club since my arrival in Milan in ’92. I joined the Benvenuto Club shortly after arriving in Milan and it helped me to adjust to new surroundings tremendously. I was able to make a lot of friends and I never felt lost in this new place in spite of not knowing the Italian language.

It was back in 1967 that the Benvenuto Club was founded by eight English-speaking ladies of different nationalities who found themselves moving with their husbands to a new country and having to face new surroundings, a new language, a different culture and customs. Most of them were young mothers who had to face the additional problems of housing, schooling, finding the right doctor for their children, etc.

The group developed fast and as their number could no longer be contained in private homes, they started meeting in central locations, changing them according to availability until finally they decided on Circolo Alessandra Volta, via Giusti 16, Milan, where Club members and guests meet on the second Tuesday of each month from September through June to handle the Club’s various activities. In July and August coffees are held in the homes of members to welcome newcomers moving to Milan. The Club’s contract agreement with Circolo Volta is on a yearly rental basis, where we have all the rooms, the big hall and the bar at our disposal for a monthly rent and paying for catering services. The Club offers the young mothers free baby-sitting to encourage them to attend the monthly meetings.

 The Benvenuto Club also does a significant amount of outreach, supporting financially and through personal assistance, three charity associations – Padre Beccaro Institute which offers education and assistance to children of low-income families; Idea Vita which has two centers which host handicapped adults; and ,Home of Charlotte’s Children in Montego Bay, Jamaica (also for low-income families).

 Here’s an outline of the most important events which our Club organizes every year:

 CHRISTMAS BAZAAR : The revenue goes entirely to our charities. Our members try their best to get useful gifts from the stores in their zones to be used for the raffle.

  • SILVER ANNIVERSARY TEA : To celebrate those members who have been with the Club for 25 years or more, to thank them for their loyalty and dedication to the Club.
  • SPONSORS’ LUNCH : To express our gratitude to those sponsors who have been helping us year after year to meet our financial obligations (such as Bolliger, AIMC, Core Cocchini and others; their names appear on our Benvenuto magazine)
  • FASHION SHOW : This year we have organized a unique and different fashion show by inviting a group all the way from Japan. It will take place at Circolo Volta on October 14th . We’ve contacted the Japanese General Consulate in Milan and hope to get their help. The aim of the group is to strengthen and improve cultural relations between Japan and Italy. We are counting on a high attendance from outside the Club as well.
  • VOLUNTEERS’ BRUNCH : It is usually held in a spacious restaurant to sincerely thank the high number of volunteers who dedicate their time and efforts to promote Club activities.
  • DINNER DANCE : This takes place around end May/early June in one of the important hotels in Milan to celebrate the Club’s year-end activities.

 

It was a real honor to have been selected to serve as President of Benvenuto Club of Milan, which now boost 330 members and 40 nationalities.

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