Activity Report 2020-21
|As we look back, 2020 has been an unprecedented year. The Covid-19 pandemic has killed many thousands of people and destroyed economy all over the world. It has spared no country. Sadly, the lockdowns and government restrictions have impacted on charities. The Loomba Foundation was no exception.|
Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, thanked the Loomba Foundation, saying, "Philanthropic organisations such as yours can play a strong role in complementing the government in these difficult times by supporting us in several ways. I am ecstatic with the initiative and commitment shown by the Loomba Foundation by donating 1,00,000 surgical masks for distribution in crucial areas in India."
Lord Loomba CBE hosted a webinar to mark UN International Widows Day on 23rd June 2020 to raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on widows worldwide and to call for international support for widows’ empowerment both financially and socially.
Chairman and Founder Trustee of the Loomba Foundation said, “As latest estimates show that there are 258 million widowed women globally and the current figures will be much higher especially as Covid-19 has exacerbated this situation. The role of local governments to support their welfare cannot be undermined, and the G20 countries must find a way to help support these and grassroot efforts to help widows.”
Lord Loomba was joined on the panel by former First Lady, Mrs Cherie Blair QC CBE, President of the Loomba Foundation; Mrs Fatima Maada Bio, First Lady, Sierra Leone; Ms Simone Mensah, Vice President of the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation (Gabon); Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO (Niti Aayog), Government of India; Dr Peter Rajsingh and Mr Harjiv Singh, Trustees of the Loomba Foundation.
Mrs Blair emphasised, “During Covid-19, there are going to be many newly widowed women who will need our support as they fight these challenging times, as they are still living difficult lives in the society.”
Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Aayog, Government of India agreed, saying, “The Covid-19 lockdown has left widows exposed as a vulnerable group with no access to finance to support their children or themselves.” Explaining how the Indian government has ensured financial support has directly reached those widows affected, he underlined, “the role of civil societies, voluntary groups and citizens is extremely important.”
Mrs Fatima Maada Bio, First Lady, Sierra Leone, highlighting the challenges faced in Sierra Leone, explained how difficult it can be for bereaved widows where cultural norms mean men often have up to four wives.
Ms Simone Mensah, Vice President, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation, joining from Gabon, was keen to stress, “It is extremely important for us to work together and change the atrocious practices against widows to support human rights. Widow empowerment is
UN Women's Statement of support for widows ahead of the day, by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, underlined the predicament widows face by saying, “We have seen the myriad ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic impacts the lives of women and men differently. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the effects of the pandemic are exacerbated for women and girls.”
Launch of Project Jeeva on 8th March 2021
Empowering widows by giving them need based counselling
The Loomba Foundation and Navjyoti India Foundation launched Project Jeeva to mark International Women’s Day in Gurugram on March 8, 2021. Project Jeeva - Rediscovering the spirit in the lives of widows, is supported by The Loomba Foundation, and conceptualised & implemented by the Navjyoti India Foundation in association with the District Legal Services Authority, Gurugram.
A survey conducted by the NGO in the rural parts of Sohna Block, Gurugram revealed the dire economic, physical, and mental situation of these women who have lost their husbands early in life. The project aims to provide need-based counselling to the women and their families, facilitate linkages for them to avail legal aid and various welfare schemes and help build their self-esteem, confidence, and life skills.
The project was introduced by Ms. Chandni Bedi, Director of Rural Management and Training Institute, Navjyoti India Foundation. Mr. Atul Palta, Director – Skills Training and Empowerment from The Loomba Foundation shared about the mission of the Foundation and the ways skills training and employment have empowered the widows not just in India but globally as well.
Other panel members were Ms. Munmun Goyal, Advocate from District Legal Services Authority, Gurugram and Mr. Suresh Kumar Taneja, Section Officer, District Social Justice Department, Gurugram also took part in panel discussion and replied to the queries of audience.
Nirmala and Angoori Devi, two young widows who have been supported by Navjyoti India Foundation under Project Unnati, shared their success story of running a boutique and selling home-made spices. Mr. Hemant Kumar and Pawan Kumar, Team members of the Loomba Foundation were also present during the Launch of Jeeva Project. After a spirited discussion and questions from the audience, made up of widows from Sohna Block, the vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Ujala Chaudhary, Executive Director of Navjyoti India Foundation.
During the year, the Loomba Foundation continued empowering widows and their youths in the states of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in partnership with the Rotary India Literacy Mission and Rotary International Foundation.
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