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Activity Report 1999-2008


The objectives of the Loomba Foundation are to promote the welfare and education of children of poor widows, orphaned children, and also children who have lost their mothers, as a result of natural disaster and for other auxiliary purposes as the Foundation may determine.

The Foundation aims to expand its education programmes nationwide to all of the 29 States in India, thus raising awareness of the plight of Indian widows and their children throughout the country. The Foundation also aims to support the widows who have lost their husbands as a result of HIV/AIDS.

All beneficiaries are selected irrespective of Gender, Religion or Class and scholarships are guaranteed for a period of five years, initially.



The Loomba Foundation was established in the UK on 26 June 1997. It was created by Raj and Veena Loomba by charitable Foundation deed, and has a sister charity registered in India. The inspiration came from Raj’s late mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, who became a widow at the age of 37 and succeeded in educating her seven children single-handed. The Foundation aims to educate the children of poor widows throughout India.

 The Foundation was officially launched in London on 25 March 1998 in the presence of the British Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP and his wife, Cherie Booth QC. The Foundation also received the support of the Prime Minister of India, The Honourable Atal Behari Vajpayee, who inaugurated the Foundation in New Delhi on 31 March 1999 by lighting a lamp at his residence.

The Foundation was honoured that Cherie Booth QC, who became the first Patron of the Foundation in 1998, agreed to become the President of the Foundation and officially inaugurated Loomba House in London on 8th September 2004.

The Loomba Foundation has launched International Widows Day, a new initiative, which takes place each year on 23 June, to highlight the plight of widows and their children all over the world and to provide a focus for effective action. The date of 23 June was chosen because it was on this day that Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, the inspiration of the Foundation, became a widow.

Cherie Booth QC announced the initiative at the House of Lords in the UK on 26th May, 2005, which was followed by launches in India on 7th September and the USA on 21st October, respectively.

The Loomba Foundation was honoured to receive the Asian Who’s Who Award at a Glittering Gala dinner, which was held at the Grosvenor House on 20th November, 2006


The Loomba Foundation is currently educating over 3,000 children of poor widows in all 29 states in India.

Orissa State Programme – 100 students 
This programme was launched on 5 January 2001, and was attended by the Governor of Orissa, HE Shri M M Rajendran. The programme is run by NSP (Nilachal Seva Pratisthan), an Indian Government accredited NGO. The Foundation is funding 100 children who lost their fathers and in some cases both parents, during the devastating 1999 cyclone in Orissa.

Gujarat State Programme – 100 students
This programme was started in November 2001 and launched by Mr Edmund Marsden, the Chairman of the British Council in India. The Foundation has selected 50 children from the Bhuj area; the area worst hit by the 2001 earthquake, and the other 50 beneficiaries are from Ahmedabad and surrounding areas.

Rajasthan State Programme – 100 students
The Rajasthan programme was launched on 18 January 2002 in Jodhpur. It was presided over by the then Union Finance Minister, Honourable Shri Yashwant Sinha in the presence of 500 guests. Shri Raj Kumar Bhandari who lives in Jodhpur and is committed to social work supervises the programme.

Punjab State Programme – 100 students
This programme started in July 2002 and was officially launched in the holy City of Amritsar at the Guru Nanak Dev University on April 24, 2003.  Lord Dholakia of Waltham and Lord Williams of Mostyn from UK attended the launch.  The Foundation is educating 100 students who are receiving 500 Indian Rupees monthly for a guaranteed period of five years.

Andhra Pradesh State Programme – 100 students
Ms. Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State, Trade and Industry, UK launched the Andhra Pradesh programme for education of 100 children in Hyderabad on 6 January 2003.  Shri. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Mr. Mark Runacres, acting British High Commissioner were present amongst many other dignitaries, on this occasion.

Haryana State Programme – 100 students :
The Haryana programme was started in July 2003.  The Foundation is educating 100 students in the State, consisting of 66 girls and 34 boys, who have been guaranteed to receive scholarships for a continuous period of 5 years.

Uttaranchal Pradesh State Programme – 100 students
The Uttaranchal Pradesh programme was launched on 8th September 2003 in Nainital. The Hon’ble Governor of Uttaranchal, HE Shri, launched the programme. Sudharshan Aggarwal at Raj Bhawan.  The Foundation is providing scholarships to 110 children.

Arunachal Pradesh State Programme – 100 students
The Arunachal Pradesh Programme was launched at the residence of the Honourable Chief Minister, Shri Geong Apaang on 14th November, 2003.The launch was attended by many state dignitaries, including the Honourable Governor, Shri. Pandey and the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of India, Shri L. K. Advani, who gave cheques to 12 children of poor widows selected by the Loomba Foundation.

Tamil Nadu State Programme – 700 students
Chennai – 200 students: The Tamil Nadu programme to educate 200 children of poor widows was launched at Raj Bhawan by His Excellency, the Honourable Governor Shri P.S. Ramamohan on 13th January 2004. The Sriram Welfare Foundation, a local NGO has agreed to supervise the programme as well as support it by matching the 100 scholarships to be provided by the Foundation. Therefore, there will be 200 children of poor widows benefiting in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Nagapattinum – 500 students: The Loomba Foundation has come forward to educate 500 children and support their widowed mothers, who became the victims of the Tsunami disaster. The beneficiaries include both girls and boys aged from 6 to 12, who come from all different religions in the small fisherman’s village of Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu in South India. The programme will continue for 5 years, initially. The programme started in April 2005

Chhattisgarh State Programme – 100 students
The Foundation is honoured and privileged that H E Shri K M Seth, Hon’ble Governor of Chhattisgarh inaugurated the Foundation’s Chhattisgarh Educational Program to educate 100 children of poor widows at Raj Bhawan in Raipur on Tuesday, 10 May 2005. The Chhattisgarh Educational Program is sponsored by the British Telecom, a leading corporate in the United Kingdom and has received the support of The Mahila Sewa and Kalyan Samiti, an NGO based in Raipur. The Mahila Sewa and Kalyan Samiti have helped the Foundation to select 100 children and have agreed to manage the Loomba Foundation’s Chhattisgarh programme.


Jammu & Kashmir State Programme – 100 students
On 18th May, 2005, the Foundation started its J & K Programme, which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble State Governor, Shri Sinha at Raj Bhawan in Jammu. There are 50 beneficiaries selected from Jammu and 50 from Srinagar and come from all religions, including Hindus, Kashmiri Pundits, Sikhs and Muslims. Each child will receive Rs 500 per month that is guaranteed for 5 years.

West Bengal State Programme – 100 students
H E Shri Gopalakrishna Gandhi, Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal inaugurated the Foundation’s West Bengal Educational Program to educate 100 children of poor widows at Raj Bhawan in Kolkata on Saturday, 13 August 2005.

Maharashtra State Programme – 200 students
Mumbai: The Foundation selected 100 children of poor widows from 9 schools in Mumbai. The programme started in September 2005 and all beneficiaries will receive scholarships, guaranteed for 5 years by our donor, Mr. Martin Ciupa, from Singapore.

Pune: Mellon Group Europe, based in Pune in India, have agreed to sponsor the education of 100 children of poor widows in this city. The programme started during September 2005

Madhya Pradesh State Programme – 100 students
The programme started during September 2005 for 100 children of poor widows, which will be officially launched by the Honourable Governor of the State Shri Balram Jakhar on 11th November 2005.

Uttar Pradesh State Programme – 100 students
The Loomba Foundation selected 100 beneficiaries from the state of Uttar Pradesh during October 2005 and the programme will be supported by individual donors from the UK, who pledged to educate children of poor widows in India through the Foundation.

Events and Fundraising

5 November 2008 : New York.  The President of Rwanda, HE Paul Kagame and Raj Nooyi, a prominent philanthropist NRI in the United States, were honoured for their important humanitarian work by The Loomba Foundation at its Annual Diwali Gala Dinner.  The Loomba Foundation is the world’s first global charity dedicated to supporting and raising awareness of the plight of widows around the world.  The Gala was held on 5th November, 2008 at the Ballroom of the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York. Proceeds from the Gala will educate children of poor widows in India.

Following a landslide victory in 2003, President Paul Kagame became Rwanda’s first President after the Genocide in 1994. Since then, he has been actively involved in helping victims of the Genocide, many of whom who became widows as a result of the conflict. He seeks to empower women generally and 30 per cent of his Government is made up of women. The award was presented by the Foundation’s President, Cherie Blair, to the Rwandan Permanent UN Representative, HE Joseph Nsengimana who accepted it on behalf of the President.

Raj Nooyi, a prominent philanthropist NRI in the US, was presented with a 2008 Humanitarian Award, also by Cherie Blair, in recognition of his philanthropic work supporting needy children through Plan International in India.

The Diwali dinner was attended by Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Foundation & Foundation; Founder Chairman Foundationee, Raj Loomba; and Foundationees Lord Dholakia, Mrs. Veena Loomba, Jack Klinck, Dr. Peter Rajsingh, Harjiv Singh and Dr. N. P. Loomba. The Sheriff of Mumbai, Dr. (Mrs.) Indu Shahani; UN Assistant Secretary General, Rachel Mayanja, and the Rwandan Permanent UN Representative, HE Joseph Nsengimana, Mrs. Grazyna Sen, wife of the Indian Permanent UN Representative, Mrs. Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi and wife of honoree Raj Nooyi, Baroness McDonagh, Ms. June Sarpong from Channel 4, along with other many dignitaries graced the Diwali celebrations with their presence.

2 October 2008: Annual Gala Dinner was held at the Whitehall Banqueting House in London by the Loomba Foundation to celebrate the festival of lights – DIWALI and the UN International Day of Non-Violence, commemorating the birthday of MAHATMA GANDHI, an Apostle of Non-Violence.

Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, Rt Hon Tony Blair, and President of the Loomba Foundation and the Chairman, Raj Loomba, welcomed hundreds of celebrities, who turned out in style at the Whitehall Banqueting House in London, for the Loomba Foundation Annual Diwali Dinner.

Famous Bollywood star, Kajol Devagan, added a touch of glamour as she accepted to become a Goodwill Ambassador. Kajol said she was honoured and hoped she would be worthy of this appointment when she accepted a plaque from Cherie Blair. The event raised £150,000 for charity to provide scholarships for the children of poor widows in India, which was supported by Virgin Atlantic, KPMG, Telecity Group, Hotelworld, Barclays, Trikona Trinity Capital, Clariden Leu, Clegg Gifford and Co, Beechson, Cobra Beers Ltd, Precis, London City Airport, University of East London, Metropolitan Police, Wates, Schneider Electric, Singhania and Co and Rinku Group.

The Chief Guest, Mayor of London, arrived in eco-friendly transportation, a bicycle, and made a brilliant speech about Britain’s multi-culturalism and the significance of non-violence in today’s world. Mayor Johnson said he was proud to continue supporting the Loomba Foundation that had been given by his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, who also attended the dinner as a Patron of the Loomba Foundation.

India’s High Commissioner to Britain, HE Shiv Shanker Mukherjee, congratulated the Loomba Foundation for ‘a worthy job’ and promised his support for its noble efforts for the poor widows in India and around the world. He greeted the British people on Diwali that had become an international festival marking the victory of good over evil. Highlighting the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi, he said Gandhi first promoted non-violence and it was very relevant to the world today

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of the UK India Business Council and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Loomba Foundation and Lord Navnit Dholakia, a Foundationee, were among the other speakers while among the distinguished guests were Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats; Lord Khalid Hameed, Lord Bagri, Lord Mackenzie, Patron of the Loomba Foundation; Sir Sigmund Sternberg, Chairman of Three Faiths Forum; Don McKinnon, former Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Jo Valentine, and many other dignitaries.

19 August 2008: NRI Institute of India held a dinner at the Habitat centre in Delhi to celebrate the recent successes of the Loomba Foundation and, in particular, Raj Loomba’s CBE Award, which was announced in HM Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2008.

Amongst over 100 prominent guests, the dinner was attended by Sir Richard Stagg, British High Commissioner, as Chief Guest, and Mr. Mohan Das, Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, as Guest of Honour.

31 July 2008: Rwanda supports the Foundation’s campaign for the UN Recognition – The President of Rwanda writes to the UN Secretary General to recognise International Widows Day, on behalf of the Loomba Foundation. We are hoping that it will be discussed at the next General Assembly in September 2008.

30 June 2008: The Loomba Foundation Accredited as an UN NGO – The Loomba Foundation was approved for association with the Department of Public Information (DPI) of the United Nations on 30th June 2008. Through the United Nations accreditation, the Loomba Foundation is committed to raising public awareness about the purpose and activities of the United Nations and issues of global concerns, especially on the plight of widows and their children who are suffering through poverty, illiteracy, diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Malaria, conflict and violence and social injustice.

23 June 2008:  World Opinion Organisation and Chatham House Polls – The Polling Results of a global research programme on widows across 17 nations was released to coincide with the 4th International Widows Day. The research was commissioned by the Loomba Foundation in conjunction with Chatham House, London and WorldPublicOpinion.org to identify the perception of widows.

23 June 2008: Marks 4th International Widows Day – The Loomba Foundation organises events in 7 counties around the world to mark the 4th International Widows day on 23rd June, 2008.

UK: London: Concert at Trafalgar Square – Trafalgar Square, London played host to one of the capital’s most colourful free concerts on Monday 23rd June 2008, to mark the occasion of International Widows Day and help raise awareness of a cause that is gaining global momentum. Over 300 celebrities, VIP’s and high profile dignitaries from the UK and abroad joined in unison with members of the public, to remember the plight that widows face across the world.

Staged by the Loomba Foundation, a UK-based charity which fights to improve the position of widows in the developing world, the concert featured an international line up of entertainment, including critically acclaimed Icelandic opera singer Cortes; Bhangra music legends, Malkit Singh and Channi Singh; Bollywood dancing sensation, Honey Kalaria; female Bhangra vocalist, Mona Singh; and an array of vibrant dancers from the Indian Subcontinent and the UK.

Hosted by GMTV presenter, Clare Nasir, the concert was opened by The Loomba Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, Raj Loomba, and President, Cherie Blair, with a ceremonial release of white doves from the stage, accompanied by other key public figures and patrons of The Loomba Foundation, including respected broadcaster and journalist, Sir Mark Tully.

UK: Leicester – Lord Mayor releases balloons at the De Montfort University: The first Asian woman Lord Mayor in the UK, Cllr. Manjula Sood, a widow herself, highlighted the plight of the widows around the world and marks the 4th International Widows Day by releasing multi-coloured balloons in the city of Leicester on Monday 23rd June 2008. The event was staged by the Loomba Foundation in association with De Montfort University, The Punjab Link Council and The Sikh Welfare and Cultural Society UK.

USA: United Nations in New York – International Widows Day was marked in the United States with a gathering of influential, international women, who came together for a lunch conference at the United Nations in New York. Guests included Elbrun Kimmelman, a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Council, and Grazyna Sen, wife of the Permanent Indian Ambassador to the UN.

India: New Delhi – British High Commissioner Marks International Widows Day at his residence – On Monday 23rd June 2008, Sir Richard Stagg KCMG, British High Commissioner, hosted a lunch at his residence to support the Loomba Foundation and Mark the 4th International Widows Day in India. The event was attended by a number of the Foundation’s beneficiaries. They were all presented with gifts by a supporter of the Foundation, Mr. Mukal Anand.

Sir Richard Stagg said, “Widows in India are particularly vulnerable community and face difficult challenges. In this challenging environment, the Loomba Foundation has devised a wonderful system of helping widows so that they and their children can have a full and worthwhile life.”

The High Commissioner presented certificates to 10 widows who had successfully completed the Beauty and Hair Care training from Blossom Kochhar Training Institute, under the Loomba Foundation Entrepreneur Programme. The three-month training was offered free of cost to these widows and will enable these widows to become self-reliant. Later, he released hundreds of balloons as a symbol of freedom in the company of Mr. Lalit Mansingh and Mr. K.M. Singh, Foundationees of the Loomba Foundation. Mr Mansingh read a special message from the President of the Foundation, Cherie Blair.

India: Dhilwan (Punjab) – Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala District releases balloons at the Shri Jagiri Lal Memorial Senior Secondary Government School in Dhilwan to mark the 4th International Widows Day. The event, organised by the Loomba Foundation, was attended by over 100 students at the school as well as many Government officials and the village leaders.

Sri Lanka: Colombo – On Monday 23rd June 2008, an International Widows Day Commemoration was held to mark the 4th International widows day. The ceremony was sponsored by the Loomba Foundation (UK) and organized by the HYBT and the WDF

The event was attended by 450 widows in Hambantota District. A number of invitees including the officials of the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC), Women Development Foundation (WDF) and several other public and other representatives of local organizations. This gala event was characterized by the release of about a 1000 balloons and a unique tree-planting moment.

Arrangements were made to present special awards on this occasion to five most outstanding women entrepreneurs from matriarchal families that have made immense contributions towards the economic and social development of the country by being engaged in the business sector.

Nepal: Kathmandu – The Loomba Foundation Entrepreneur Programme, in partnership with the YBI Network, has also reached Nepal. On the 23rd June, NYBF, the local youth business programme, hosted a gathering of businesspersons (and potential supporters) in conjunction with the Nepalese Chamber of Commerce.

Syria: Damascus – In Syria, International Widows Day was celebrated in conjunction with BIDAYA, the local partner of the Youth Business International Network, which is helping widows start their own businesses. As part of the ceremony, candles were lit and a tree was planted in the Botanical Garden close to the Damascus Castle.

This painting, entitled “The Widow,” was donated by a famous Syrian artist and is to be auctioned off by BIDAYA to raise fund for their programme.

Kenya: Nairobi – In partnership with the Youth Business International Network, The Loomba Foundation has begun a programme to empower widows in Kenya. International Widows Day was launched in Nairobi with a launch of multi-coloured balloons. Over 100 widows and their children, each of whom had an individual story of success, attended the event. Each widow left the event with a package of food, given in the memory of Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba.

The Loomba Project has been in contact with over 5,000 widows and orphans in nine communities in Nairobi. Already 17 widows and children of widows have been issued with loans and volunteer business mentors, with many more women awaiting training.

14 June 2008:  Foundation’s Founder, Raj Loomba, receives CBE – “Commander of Excellence of British Empire” Award from Her Majesty The Queen in the UK – “For charitable services to poor widows and their children overseas particularly India, and to UK/India interests more widely” 

14 April 2008: First Ever Indian Festival hosted by US Ambassador in London – The iconic event, the first ever of a Punjabi festival to be celebrated in the premises of the US Embassy in London, was organised in close collaboration with the Loomba Foundation. The ceremony was conducted in the auditorium of the Embassy.

A golden milestone was reached in the great history of the Sikh community and their rich heritage, when the US Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle hosted the Vaisakhi festivities at the heavily secured American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London.

The day’s events started with a lunch given by the Ambassador for 12 select invitees including Mr Loomba and Mrs Monika Mohta, Minister of Culture of High Commission of India. It was followed with the formal launch of the festivities by Ambassador Tuttle and Punjabi Bhangra performed by a group from Leicester.

1 April 2008: The Loomba Foundation Entrepreneur Programme was launched by the British High Commissioner at the International India centre in New Delhi. The programme aims to set up businesses for 100 poor widows in India, whose children are already being educated by the Loomba Foundation.

Dr Blossom Kochhar Group has agreed to give training, free of cost, for Hair and Beauty care to these unfortunate widows. After the training, the Loomba Foundation will either find a job or open a salon for each of the participant in this programme. As part of the pilot project for 10 poor widows from Delhi state, the participants received the training kits at the launch.


29th November 2007 - Diwali at the United Nations,

honouring First Lady Laura Bush and Craig Barrett, Intel Chairman, for Leadership in Education

The Loomba Foundation, a sister charity of the Loomba Foundation, founded to benefit widows and children around the world hosted a Diwali dinner at the United Nations, honouring First Lady Laura Bush, and Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation, for their leadership in education on Thursday, November 29, 2007.

Mrs. Laura Bush, who is actively involved in issues of national and global concern with a particular emphasis on education, healthcare and human rights, was honoured with the 2007 Humanitarian Award for Education. In her video message, she said “Thank you to Cherie Blair and to everyone at the Loomba Foundation for honouring me with this year Humanitarian Award for Education. Most of all, thank you for the outstanding work you do every day to help widows and children. The award was presented to Mrs. Bush at the White House in Washington DC by Cherie Blair and Raj Loomba on 30th November, 2007.

Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation, was presented with a 2007 Humanitarian Award for his leadership and commitment to global education of disadvantaged children. “We are big believers at Intel that all poor children, everywhere, deserve the chance to change the world, and that possibility begins with a strong education”, said Mr. Barrett. “We are proud to receive this honour from the Loomba Foundation, an organization that supports the potential of education for children in need”.

The Diwali dinner was attended by Cherie Blair and Lord Navnit Dholakia from London and Vijay Amritraj, renowned Tennis World Champion, Mrs Veronica Hearst, Meera Gandhi and many other prominent dignitaries from the US. The Foundation raised US$ 100,000 at the event, which will be used to educate children of poor widows in India.

17th October 2007 – Diwali at The Mansion House


The annual London Diwali Dinner in support of the Loomba Foundation, traditionally co-hosted by the Mayor of London and the business organisation London First, took place at the Mansion House in the City of London Guests at the glittering occasion were received by the Immediate Past Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Sir David Brewer, and addressed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who was the guest of honour.


The Mansion House was packed to capacity for this key date in the London calendar to see the Mayor, Loomba Foundation chairman Raj Loomba and other dignitaries light the Diwali lamps – this year celebrating the tenth anniversary of the charity which has transformed the lives of thousands of widows’ families in India and drawn attention to the plight of widows as an urgent global issue.


Tribute was paid at the dinner to former Indian High Commissioner Dr Laxmi Mal Singhvi, who passed away in Delhi earlier this month (6 OCT). Dr Singhvi was instrumental in helping Raj Loomba establish the Loomba Foundation in 1997 and was for ten years the Chairman Foundationee of the charity’s Indian arm.


London’s celebration of India’s national festival attracts a great deal of attention in the sub-continent and the event was covered live by Indian TV channel MATV. Living Bollywood legend Dev Anand used the occasion to launch his book, called ‘Romancing with Dev Anand’. Other prominent guests included Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, Liberal peer Lord Dholakia, Cobra beer founder Lord Bilimoria and the renowned Bollywood film producer Ravi Chopra.


Mike Tobin, chief executive of TelecityGroup and chairman of the Friends of the Loomba Foundation, appealed to guests to educate at least one child of a poor widow in India for one year and other fundraising activities included a raffle and auction, raising altogether £250,000 on the evening. Of this, £25,000 was donated to the Safer London Foundation and the remaining £225,000 will go towards the education of 3,600 children of poor widows being supported by the Loomba Foundation in India.


23rd June 2007 - International Widows Day

On behalf of the Loomba Foundation, Cherie Blair launched a Blimp airship in Trafalgar Square in London to mark International Widows Day, an annual campaign day that aims to raise awareness of the hardship faced by millions of widows and their children in much of the developing world. The Blimp airship flew over the square on Friday 22nd June and Saturday 23rd June, which was the 3rd International Widows Day.

The launch of the Blimp was one of many global events taking place on International Widows day. In New Delhi, the Honourable Minister for Women and Child Development attended, as Chief Guest, the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, which was held at the India International Centre on 23 June 2007. The event was attended by over 200 beneficiaries of the Foundation, including children and their widowed mothers, who travelled to the capital from 18 different states of India.

The Honourable Minister said in her speech that she would do everything in her capacity to remove the taboo of widowhood and give them a chance to live a life of fulfilment and dignity. She also commended and acknowledged the pioneering work of the Loomba Foundation.

Balloons were released in Nairobi, Dhaka and Colombo to mark the 3rd International Widows Day by the HRH The Prince of Wales’s charity, Youth Business International, who is managing the Loomba Entrepreneur Projects in these three countries to support young widows and Youths.

Diwali at the Mansion House,

London 11th October 2006

Diwali at the Mansion House was co-hosted by the Rt Hon The Mayor of London, Alderman Brewer CMG, Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and London First.  It was attended by over 300 guests including Cherie Booth QC, HE The Rt Hon Donald McKinnon, The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia, The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett, The Rt Hon The Baroness Hayman, The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, The Rt Hon Goldsmith, Attorney General and many other dignitaries.


It was the first time ever that Diwali was celebrated at the Mansion House in London, residence of the Lord Mayor, and the Foundation raised £170,000, which will be used for the education of widows children in India.


Diwali at the United Nations, New York

20th October 2006

For the first time ever in the history of the United Nations, Diwali was celebrated at this world landmark.  A gala dinner was organised by the Loomba Foundation and was attended by over 350 guests.  We were honoured that our President, Cherie Booth QC, Foundationees, The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia and Mrs Shamin Lalji, flew from London to attend the dinner. 

Shrimati Renuka Chowdhury, Hon Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India, Rachel Mayanja, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Yoko Ono, widow of famous Beatle John Lennon were honoured at the dinner.  We were delighted that Yoko Ono donated $100,000 to the Loomba Foundation at the dinner.

On 19th October, our President, Cherie Booth QC rang the bell at the NYMEX exchange in the name of the Loomba Foundation.


Johannesburg, South Africa

23rd October 2006

We were honoured that Cherie Booth QC, President of the Loomba Foundation launched the Foundation in South Africa at a gala dinner in Johannesburg.  His Excellency Paul Boateng, British High Commissioner to South Africa, Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group who is also Patron in Chief of the Loomba Foundation and Foundationees The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia and Mrs Shamin Lalji graced the occasion with their presence.

We were delighted that the Foundation received a donation of rands 5,000,000 (£300,000 approximately) from SETA (Services Sector Education and Training Authority).  This generous donation will be used to support youths in South Africa who are affected by AIDS.

In addition, the Loomba Foundation launched a project, in association with Virgin Unite, to support 1,500 HIV/AIDS affected children in South Africa.  The programme will be managed by Starfish Greathearts Foundation in 5 townships over a period of 18 months.

International Widows Day

23 June 2006 – Overview

International Widows Conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

A Major International Widows Conference was held in the Locarno Suite at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 23 June 2006. The purpose of the conference was to raise international awareness and provide individuals, corporations, governments and NGOs with a platform to address issues affecting widowhood, such as poverty and deprivation, social stigma, legal discrimination, and the impact of HIV / AIDS.

HRH The Prince of Wales was Patron in Chief of the Conference, which was Chaired by Loomba Foundation President, Cherie Booth QC. Alastair Stewart acted as Master of Ceremonies and speakers included: Yoko Ono; the Rt Hon Baroness Amos; Baroness Jay of Paddington; H.E. the Rt Hon Donald McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General; Rt Hon Lord Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords; Mrs Renuka Chowdhury, Hon Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India; a number of speakers from overseas organisations dedicated to alleviating the suffering of widows and orphans in the developing world.


The Loomba Foundation Bollywood Concert in Trafalgar Square

The conference was followed by a live open air Bollywood concert in Trafalgar Square, attended by 300 hundred VIP guests and thousands of members of the public.

Shekhar Suman, known as the Indian Jay Leno or ‘Mr Television’, hosted the afternoon’s entertainment. The line-up included performances by 4×4 Bhangra Group, the renowned pioneers of Freestyle Bhangra dance; Kashmira Shah; Sophia, Sunidhi Chauhan and Bhangra icon Jazzy B, who sang tracks from his chart topping albums.

Video messages from Hillary Clinton and Sir Richard Branson were broadcast during the concert and, as the finale, Cherie Booth QC released balloons to mark International Widows Day.

Media coverage

Media coverage included an interview with Cherie Booth QC and Yoko Ono conducted by Kay Burley of Sky, which ran on Sky News throughout the afternoon of 23 June. An interview between Cherie Booth QC and Ronke Phillips of ITV was also broadcast on London Tonight that evening.

Other media that reported on International Widows Day included: BBC News, Channel Five, Press Association, The Sun, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Press Association, AFP, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, Asian Voice, icBirmingham.co.uk, Community Newswire, PR inside, FemaleFirst.co.uk, Century 105 FM and The Pulse.

International Widows Day in India

On this day, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, Shrimati Sheila Dikshit, released multi-coloured balloons at the India Gate in New Delhi to mark International Widows Day. The ceremony was attended by the Health Minister, Yoganand Shastri and 100 beneficiaries with their mothers.

21st October, 2005 – Cherie Booth QC announced the US Launch of the Loomba Foundation and the International Widows Day at the 60th Anniversary celebration of the United Nations in New York, in the presence of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan.

The Gala Dinner was held on October 21st, 2005 at the U.N. Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations and hosted by the United Nations Association of New York. This announcement in the United States was made in order to elevate the issues facing widows as one of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.

5th October, 2005 The Loomba Foundation celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali, at the Dorchester in London on Wednesday, 5th October. For the 6th year running, the charity dinner was co-hosted by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and London First.

The celebrations were attended by over 430 guests from both the Indian and British communities and included a number of dignitaries and business leaders in the capital.  The Loomba Foundation raised over £180,000 at the event, which will enable the Foundation to educate at least 100 children of poor widows in each of the 29 states, nationwide, in India, a goal that was set out just 6 years ago, in 1999.

18th September, 2005 – A leading international cosmetics company has donated 100,000 pounds to the Loomba Foundation to help educate children of widows in India. Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista presented a cheque for 100,000 pounds to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who is also the Patron of the Foundation at a gala function organized by the cosmetics company M.A.C. at Viva Glam V at Covent Garden last night. In his brief remarks, Livingstone praised the work of the Foundation in educating children of widows in India.       

7th September, 2005 Cherie Booth Q.C. launched International Widows Day in India at a function held at the Loomba Foundation’s Head Office in New Delhi, which was attended by many senior politicians, diplomats and business leaders.

1st September, 2005 – Virgin Atlantic Airways started raising funds for the Loomba Foundation through “Change for Children” appeal, on virgin flights worldwide. The appeal will run for 3 months.

23rd June, 2005 – The first International Widows Day was marked by the Foundation by releasing 1000 multi colour balloons near the Tower Bridge in London. Similar activities also took place in other countries including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and South Africa.

26th May, 2005 – The Loomba Foundation launched International Widows Day, which will take place on 23 June each year. Our President, Cherie Booth QC, made the announcement at the partnership lunch hosted by Lord Dholakia at the House of Lords, which was attended by the Hon’ble Governor of Uttaranchal, His Excellency Shri Sudarshan Aggarwal. Through our work over the years in India we have become increasingly aware that widows and their children face similar acute problems all over the world resulting from social stigma, conflict, extreme poverty and disease. With this new initiative we aim to address their tragic plight in many countries. We very much hope that the United Nations would recognise the day.

20th March, 2005  – Ragamuffin Man at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane took place on Sunday, 20th March 2005. All the money raised from this performance will go to the Loomba Foundation to support the education of 500 unfortunate children who have lost their fathers or both parents in the Tsunami disaster in Nagapattinum in South India.

Amongst the audience of over 800 people, Cherie Booth QC, President of the Loomba Foundation, Lord and Lady Dholakia, Dr. David Thomas and many other dignitaries attended the charity play, which tells the story of Dr Thomas Barnardo and the origins of his work helping destitute children in London in the 1800s. The Loomba Foundation maintains strong links with the Barnardo’s charity of which Mr Raj Loomba is a Vice President.

The performance and its cast of 140 pupils aged 5-13 and staff from the Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School re-enact the entire musical, written and composed by Jon Fielder. Ragamuffin Man, with its unforgettable message, happy and sad songs, combined with these very talented children touched even the hardest heart.

27th November, 2004 – The Foundation held its first ever charity banquet at the Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi in India on 27th November 2004. It was a successful event in terms of raising the profile of the Foundation in India and also in raising funds for the children of poor widows.

We were honoured that Cherie Booth QC, President of the Loomba Foundation, and 40 other Dignitaries from the UK, including Lord Dholakia, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, Baroness Shirley Williams and Baroness Jay travelled from the United Kingdom to attend the Banquet. We were also honoured that the Honourable Home Minister Shri Shivraj Patil, Honourable Chief Minister of Delhi, Shrimati Sheila Dikshit, and many other Dignitaries graced the occasion with their presence.

Through the generosity of Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, who also travelled to Delhi to attend the banquet, and many Indian Corporates including Birla Charitable Foundation, Godfrey Phillips India, and Bharat Hotels Limited, we received pledges at the banquet, amounting to over £500K .The proceeds will enable the Foundation to educate 1500 children of poor widows and support their mothers in India for a continuous period of 5 years.

13th October 2004 – Diwali at the Dorchester, the annual fund-raising event was co-hosted by the Loomba Foundation, the Mayor of London and London First at the Dorchester Hotel. Over 460 people attended the Diwali celebrations, including Cherie Booth QC, President of the Loomba

Foundation, who was the Guest of Honour. Other distinguished guests included Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, David Davies, Shadow Home Secretary and Charles Kennedy, Leader of the Liberal Democrat.  Joanna Lumley, Patron of the Foundation, made an appeal on behalf of the Loomba Foundation. An amount of over £100,000 was raised on the night, which will support the education of children of poor widows in India. A donation of £5000 has been given to Barnardo’s in the UK.

8th September 2004 – The Foundation was honoured that Cherie Booth QC, who became a Patron of the Foundation in 1998, agreed to become the President and officially inaugurated Loomba House in the presence of His Excellency, Shri Kamalesh Sharma, High Commissioner for India, Mrs. Sharma, Lord Dholakia OBE DL, Sir Sigmund Sternberg and many other dignitaries.

29 April 2004  The Foundation hosted a lunch reception at the House of Lords in honour of Sir Rob Young GCMC and his wife, Lady Young for their continued support for the work of the Loomba Foundation in India. Sir Rob served as a British High Commissioner in Delhi for six years. The event was presided over by Lord Dholakia OBE DL, a Foundationee and attended by many distinguished guests including Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

16 October 2003 Diwali at the Savoy Charity Dinner, once again co-hosted by The Loomba Foundation, London First and the Mayor of London. A grand total of £106,258 was raised during the evening, out of which amount of £5000.00 has been donated to a London Charity, Project Fullemploy.

26 June 2003 Lunch at the House of Lords co-hosted by The Loomba Foundation and the Rt. Hon. Lord Dholakia of Waltham Brooks OBE DL, in order to celebrate India and the Indian Diaspora through a research programme entitled, ‘The Global Position of India 2010’ to be conducted by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). The research programme is expected to start in 2004 and will run initially for two years at a cost of £50,000 per year.

12 May 2003 Dinner at City Hall hosted by the Mayor of London, to help the Loomba Foundation raise the funds necessary to educate at a London university two children, who have already benefited from the Loomba Foundation in Delhi. The University of Westminster and London Metropolitan University agreed during the evening to waive tuition fees for a three-year degree course for these two children, additionally Air India and British Airways undertook to support their travel from India

April 2003 Dr Mike Krimholtz, son-in-law of Lord and Lady Dholakia supported the work of the Loomba Foundation by participating in the Polar Race. He walked 350 miles from Resolute Bay in Canada to the North Magnetic Pole and raised over £2,000 for the Foundation.

10- 14 MARCH 2003 “A Celebration of Colour” an exhibition by Jan Puffet was held at the Nehru Centre in London from 10th to 14th March 2003. Lord Puttnam of Queensgate OBE opened the exhibition and was attended by many dignitaries and supporters of the Loomba Foundation, including Lord and Lady Dholakia. Many colourful paintings were sold at the exhibition to raise funds and the generous artist, Jan Puffet, donated 600 prints, worth £15,000, to support the education of children of poor widows in India.

 6 March 2003 – 5th Anniversary celebration lunch, hosted by Lord Dholakia OBE DL at the House of Lords. The Guest of Honour was Baroness Jay of Paddington, who further honoured the Foundation by agreeing to become a patron.


9 December 2002 – Reception at 10 Downing Street, hosted by Cherie Booth QC, in aid of the work of the Foundation. Speaking at the reception, Cherie Booth commended the Foundation for raising sufficient funds to educate 1000 children of poor widows in India since its launch in 1998.

24 October 2002 – “Diwali at the Savoy” Charity Dinner. The Foundation, the Mayor of London and London First co-hosted a charity dinner at the Savoy Hotel held to celebrate the Indian Festival of Light – Diwali. Baroness Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons, was moved by the work of the charity and agreed to become one of its patrons, offering her personal support to widows and their children in India. 

26 June 2002 Launch of the Foundation in Scotland by Sir David Steel, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, at The Scotch whisky Heritage Centre, Edinburgh.   The Foundation was grateful to Cairn Energy Plc who sponsored the launch.

10 June 2002 – Luncheon at which Sir Mark Tully OBE was Guest of Honour and speaker. The Foundation’s documentary, “World of Widows”, which was scripted and narrated by Sir Tully, was shown to great effect to the guests.

28 May 2002 – Dinner at the House of Lords on the theme of Corporate Social Responsibility, at which Countess Mountbatten of Burma was our Guest of Honour.

May 2002 – Dinner at the House of Lords, at which the Foundation was privileged to welcome Joanna Lumley OBE as Guest of Honour and speaker.

22 November 2001 – Reception at the Delhi residence of the British High Commissioner in India, His Excellency Sir Rob Young and Lady Young, in aid of the Foundation. 

1 November 2001 – London First Diwali 2001 Dinner, at which the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, The Rt. Hon. Charles Kennedy MP, was our Guest of Honour.

18 July 2001 – British Indian Golden Jubilee Banquet in association with Care International UK to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of India becoming a Republic. HRH The Duke of Kent attended the banquet as our Guest of Honour.

5 November 2000 – London First Diwali 2000 Dinner, at which the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was our Guest of Honour.

July-September 2000 ­- Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, supported the Foundation through the ‘Change for Children’ Appeal on Virgin flights, as well as making an Appeal on BBC Radio 4 in support of the Foundation.

4 November 1999 – The British Indian Diwali of the Century Banquet, at which HRH The Princess Royal was our Guest of Honour. It was the Foundation’s first fundraising event at which £70,000 were raised. The Foundation donated £10,000 to Save the Children Fund and the remaining amount was used to educate 100 children who lost their fathers in the devastating cyclone in the state of Orissa.

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