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Activity Report 2012-13

Educational Programmes: The Foundation Loomba Foundation beneficiaries – who are selected without regard to race, religion or gender – receive a scholarship for a complete education, with guaranteed funds for a period of five years. All donations received for the education of these children are applied wholly to the cost of their education.

Empowerment Projects: In 2012, the Loomba Foundation launched a new project to empower 10, 000 impoverished widows in India, each of them will receive a sewing machine and training to make garments. They can earn money, be independent, educate their children, support their family members and lead a life of dignity.

The impact of this project would be that not only 10,000 widows will be economically empowered but also they will educate about 30,000 children assuming that they have three children on average and they will also support 60,000 their family members assuming there are around six family members in each household. Therefore, 100,000 people stand to benefit from this project.

Cherie Blair CBE QC, who became the first Patron of the Foundation in 1998, agreed to become the President and officially inaugurated Loomba House in London on 8 September 2004.

International Widows Day – Flagship: The Loomba Foundation launched International Widows Day, 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 Raj’s mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, the inspiration for the Foundation, became a widow.

This flagship of the Foundation was announced at the House of Lords in the UK on 26 May 2005, which was followed by launches in India on 7 September 2005 and the USA on 21 October 2005, respectively. The US launch was attended by Kofi Annan.

The Loomba Foundation is proud that through its tireless campaign over next five years, the United Nations declared 23rd June as International Widows Day at the 65th General Assembly in 2010. The first UN recognised International Widows day was marked on 23rd June 2011 by the United Nations at its Head Quarters in New York and chaired by Madame Ban Soon. The second UN recognised International Widows Day was marked on 23rd June 2012 at No 10 Downing Street in London by the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP and his wife Ms Miriam Durantez Gonzalez.

2012: The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations recommended  the Loomba Foundation for Special Consultative Status in 2011 and granted it in 2012. “Special Consultative Status” is conferred upon those non-governmental organizations that demonstrate a special competence in a select field of concern. This designation will allow the Foundation to send official representatives to participate in events and conferences at the United Nations.


Awareness and Fundraising events during 2012

The Loomba Foundation continued to raise awareness of the plight of widows around the world and the much needed funds for the Foundation’s educational and empowerment projects by organising fund-raising events:

23 June 2012, Hyderabad in India: The Loomba Foundation launched an empowerment project for disadvantaged widows in Andhra Pradesh, which is supported by the Foundation’s Trustee, Shamin Lalji and her husband, Shiraz Lalji.

As part of this empowerment programme a ceremony was held on Saturday at the Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad to celebrate the distribution of 25 sewing machines and training courses to widows from Andhra Pradesh. 100 scholarship cheques were also presented to the children of poor widows from the region. The event was attended by H.E. Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan (Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh) and Shri M. Shashidhar Reddy (Hon’ble Vice Chairman, NDMA, New Delhi), along with beneficiary widows and their children. 

20 November 2012, Bangalore in India: Forbes India awarded Lord Loomba CBE in the Distinguished Non-Resident Indian Philanthropist Category of the Prestigious Inaugural Forbes India Philanthropy Awards 2012

Forbes India instituted the Philanthropy Awards to recognize the efforts of individuals who have given time, money, skill and expertise to solve some of the most pressing societal issues, to create model institutions and to inspire others.

Lord Loomba was nominated for his efforts in promoting the need for educating the children of poor widows in India and establishing June 23 as International Widows Day by the United Nations.

20 March 2013, Mumbai Charity Dinner: The Loomba Foundation, in association with the Giving back Foundation, organized a charity dinner at the Trident BKC Hotel in Mumbai in India to raise funds for improving the lot of widows and their children.

The dinner was attended by the Foundation’s President, Mrs. Cherie Blair, Meera Gandhi, Founder and Chair Person of  the Giving back Foundation and the Honourable Union Minister of Law and Justice Dr. Ashwani Kumar as Chief Guest.

 Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of the Loomba Foundation, called upon the government of India to set up “Widows Help Centres” through the Ministry of Panchayat Raj. Over 70% of the population lives in rural areas in india. At present, widows who are poor and uneducated do not know who to turn to when they are ill-treated by their families or communities.

Mrs. Blair endorsed Lord Loomba’s call and said “in case they are abused physically, psychologically, raped, or robbed of their possessions, wealth and inheritance they should be able to reach out for support and help to a bona fide local authority that has the powers to help them and provide justice”.

Dr. Ashwani Kumar, who is an Oxford alumnus himself, acknowledged the request of Lord Loomba CBE and promised in his speech that he would strongly recommend the Foundation’s request for setting up Widow Help Centres, to the government of India and will definitely provide the legal framework to activate these centres.

The Minister admitted, “The government of India has many schemes for women in this country, some of them also pertain to widows, but I’m afraid they’re not enough”.

The Loomba Foundation raised a substantial amount of Rs.65 lacs net, which included Rs.50 lacs for the donation of 9 students, who will each study Engineering course for 4 years at Gyan Ganga Institute of Technology and Management, Bhopal, offered by Miny Raj Modi. 

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