Annual Diwali Gala Dinner in London - Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, Rt Hon Tony Blair, and President of the Loomba Trust welcomed hundreds of celebrities, who turned out in style at the Whitehall Banqueting House in London, for the Loomba Trust Annual Diwali Dinner that also marked the UN International Day of Non-Violence, commemorating the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, an Apostle of non-violence.
Famous Bollywood star, Kajol Devgan, 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, 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.
Cherie Blair said that the Loomba Trust helped to educate at least a hundred children of poor widows in every state of India totalling 3,600 and also extended its projects to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Syria and Columbia. The Trust is planning to expand its work in Rwanda, Tanzania and Botswana during 2009.
The Founder and Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba, said that women often lose their husbands due to violence in many countries and it is therefore fitting that on this day we commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, an apostle of non-violence, who added "We should light a candle tonight to celebrate the festival of lights and give those unfortunate women a ray of hope."