New Delhi, June 24, 2018: The Loomba Foundation, UN-accredited charity that focuses on the empowerment of widows, organized an event to recognize and honour International Widows Day on June 23, 2018, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister of Law & Justice, as the Chief Guest of the event.

Since its inception in 1997, The Loomba Foundation has placed great emphasis on advocacy to empower impoverished widows in society and ensure improved livelihoods for them. This has entailed organizing high level conferences to highlight the condition of widows, lobbying the United Nations to have a day dedicated to mark International Widows Day, supporting research to produce the world’s only comprehensive, global report about widows’ lives, and supporting the release of a book focused on the challenges they face world over, called Invisible Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows Around the World”.

The most important and strategic among these endeavors by far has been the Foundation’s success at having the UN mark 23 June as International Widow’s Day, which is celebrated every year since 2005, when it was first launched by the Foundation at the House of Lord in the UK.

Th event began with speeches by patrons and supporters of The Loomba Foundation. This was followed by Sir Dominic Acquith KCMG, British High Commissioner to India, honouring the work done by the Loomba Foundation. After the delivering of speeches, mementos and certificates were presented to the guests by Mrs. Cherie Blair, CBE QC, Former First Lady of UK and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister of Law and Justice.

Addressing the guests at the event, Founder & Chairman-Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, Lord Loomba CBE, said, One in every 10 women of marital age is widowed. It is a matter of global shame that even in today’s modern world where we speak of women empowerment, atrocities and injustice are still being inflicted on widows and their children in the name of customs and traditions. Seeing what my mother went through once she was widowed, inspired me to work tirelessly to help widows lead the lives they deserve. One of the biggest milestones The Loomba Foundation has achieved for this is to get UN recognize International Widows Day on June 23 everyday, which is why we are here today. I would like to thank each and every one of you, especially Shri Naidu and Shri Prasad, for honouring the day by being with us here today and recognizing one of the biggest issues we face globally.

Eminent dignitaries that attended the event include Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law & Justice, Mrs. Cherie Blair, CBE QC, Former First Lady of UK, Sir Dominic Acquith KCMG, British High Commissioner to India, Mr. Udit Raj, Member of the Parliament, Mr. Balbir Singh Kakar, Trustee of the Foundation, Mr. Deepak Nangla, Supporter of the Foundation, Mr. Graham Tobbel, Patron of the Foundation, Mr. Rinku Loomba, Trustee of the Foundation and, Mr. S. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Trustee of the Foundation.

The program concluded with a vote of thanks to all the dignitaries and guests by Mr. Rajat Kapoor, Founder and Chairman, Indian Diaspora Club.

On the 20th anniversary of the Loomba Foundation, they established a partnership with Rotary India Literacy Mission to provide vocational skills training to 30,000 impoverished widows. The objective of the partnership project with the Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) is to empower 1000 widows in each of the 30 states for 3-6 months in different industries like tailoring, sewing, hair & style etc., and to educate 2000 children of poor widows in India.

Since its inception, The Loomba Foundation has worked tirelessly for the welfare of poor widows around the world. It is assisting over 15,000 impoverished widows in nine states and has sponsored five-year-long education scholarships for more than 10,000 children of poor widows, supporting more than 60,000 of their family members across 29 states in India. he Foundation was started by Lord Raj Loomba who has been honored with several recognitions and accolades including the Indian Government’s Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Patra; the United Nations Association of New York’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the Forbes India Philanthropy Award; British Asian of the Year Award; and, an Honorary Fellowship by The University of Northampton. It was due to the efforts of Lord Loomba that the United Nations recognized 23rd June as International Widows Day which has helped bring the world’s attention to this neglected humanitarian crisis that impacts more than 259 million widows and their 584 million children worldwide.

 About The Loomba Foundation

The Loomba Foundation collaborates with UN bodies, other NGOs, government officials, Human Rights advocates and prominent leaders to fight for the over 259 million widows worldwide who suffer prejudice and discrimination. The Foundation seeks to bring about gender sensitive reforms of national laws and policies, eradicating anti-widow superstitions, traditions, and social practices.  It fosters gender equality and women’s empowerment by implementing poverty-reduction strategies and educational opportunities for widow’s and their children.

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