About Us

The Loomba Foundation was established in the UK on 26 June 1997 by Lord Raj and Lady Veena Loomba through a charitable trust deed.It has a sister charity registered in India. The Foundation’s programmes focus on empowerment of widows and education of their children.

The Beginning

The story of the Loomba Foundation begins on 23 June 1954 when Jagiri Lal Loomba, a successful businessman in the small Punjabi town of Dhilwan in the far North of India, died after battling tuberculosis, which was a widespread threat to public health in India. His wife Pushpawati – her name means possessing or resembling a flower in Hindi – was left at the age of 37 to care for the family’s seven children.

In accordance with custom, Jagiri’s mother – a widow herself – that same day ordered her daughter-in- law to remove all her jewellery, and never to wear brightly-coloured clothing again. In an instant, Shrimati Pushpawati Loomba’s world had been shattered: she went from being blessed and happy to disconsolate and sorrowful.

The contrast had a profound impact on her 10-year old son. "I was too young to comprehend the situation," Raj Loomba now recalls, "but gradually I saw that her life had totally changed. Before, she was a happy wife. Now, she was a very distressed widow." In years to come, Raj would discover that the family still had much to be thankful for compared to the misery of others. But that was of little comfort now, as he watched his mother’s despair.

Our Impact

  • Provided scholarships to 10,000 children of poor widows and supported over 60,000 of their family members.
  • Provided vocational training in garment making to 120 Indians widows, 40 of whom were jail in mates.
  • Partnered with Oxfam (UK) to set up an agricultural project to empower 300 widows who were victims of genocide in Rwanda.
  • Supported 1,500 orphans affected by HIV in South Africa since 2006 in partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s charity, Virgin Unite.

The injustice faced by his mother – symptomatic of a deep-rooted culture that brings misery to millions – is something Raj Loomba never forgot. When his mother passed away in 1992, Loomba, by now a successful businessman in the UK resolved to do something about it. Five years later, in 1997, Raj and Veena Loomba established the Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Trust – as the Loomba Foundation was initially known in the UK – to care for widows and their children, and to change the culture that discriminates against them.

From the outset, the Foundation’s focus was not just on developing meaningful ways of improving the lives of those who suffered this discrimination, but also on engaging governments, industry and wider society.

On 25 March 1998, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie Blair, formally launched the Foundation in London.

A year later, on 31 March 1999, the Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, in aceremony attended by UK High Commissioner Sir Rob Young, inaugurated the Foundation in New Delhi by lighting a ceremonial lamp at his residence.

The time had come to make a difference.

The traditional injustices heaped upon widows remained an ever-present feature of their lives and twelve years later, when Raj married Veena Chaudhry, "the priest asked my mother to move away from the altar, the reason being she was a widow and she could bring bad luck to me. I became very angry. How could a mother, who gave birth to me, who educated me and always wished me well – bring me bad luck?"

Board of Trustees

Lord Raj Loomba CBE is the founder and International Chair of Board of Trustees in the UK, USA, and India.
The UK Board of Trustees includes Mrs. Shamin Lalji, Dr. Barry Humphreys, Veena Lady Loomba, Mrs. Reeta Sarkar, Ms. Roma Loomba, and Mr. Rinku Loomba.
The USA Board of Trustees includes Mr. Jack Klinck, Dr. Peter Rajsingh, Dr. Narendra P. Loomba, and Harjiv Singh.
The Indian Board of Trustees includes Mr. S. S. Dhindsa MP, Mrs. Aruna Oswal, Mr Balbir Singh Kakar, Harjiv Singh, and Veena Lady Loomba.

“All widows should be protected by the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights treaties.” – Ban Ki Moon.