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.
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, The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia and Mrs Shamin Lalji, flew from London to attend the dinner.
Shrimati Renuka Chowdhury, Hon’ble 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.
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.
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 4x4 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.
International Widows Day in New Delhi, 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.
The Loomba Foundation, a sister charity of the Loomba Trust, 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.
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.
The annual London Diwali Dinner in support of the Loomba Trust, 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 Trust 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 Trust in 1997 and was for ten years the Chairman Trustee 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 Indian TV covered the event live 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 Telecity Group and chairman of the Friends of the Loomba Trust, 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 Trust in India.
On behalf of the Loomba Trust, 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 Trust’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 Trust, 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 in India and give poor widows a chance to live a life of fulfilment and dignity. She also commended and acknowledged the pioneering work of the Loomba Trust.
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.
The Loomba Trust held a Seminar at the British Council in New Delhi, which was chaired by the Trustee, Shri Lalit Mansingh. The theme of the seminar was “Corporate Social Responsibility: Educating Children of Poor Widows in India.”
The seminar was attended by over 120 delegates, which included the Guest of Honour, Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Trust, Regional Director of British Council, Rod Pryde, Keynote Speaker, Mrs. Aruna Oswal ji and Former Governor of Sikkim and Uttarakhand, Shri Sudarshan Aggarwal.
Both Mrs. Aruna Oswal and Shri Sudarshan Aggarwal made overwhelming speeches and gave a donation of Rs. 500,000 and Rs. 200,000 respectively to the Loomba Trust.
Inauguration of Shri Jagiri Lal Loomba Government Senior Secondary School Dhilwan, Punjab - Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Trust, inaugurated the Shri Jagiri Lal Loomba Government Senior Secondary School in Dhilwan in Punjab. The inauguration was attended by the Founder Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba and his wife, Veena Loomba. The Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala District, Shri Balamurugan, graced the occasion with his presence amongst the many leaders of the village and 305 school students. It was an emotional 'back to roots' visit for Raj Loomba, who was born in Dhilwan, and had started his schooling at this school at the age 6 years.
In January 2008, The Loomba Trust donated Rs 50 lakhs (US$125,000) for the reconstruction and renovation of the school. The Loomba Trust donation was matched by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Prakash Singh Badal, who also agreed to rename the school after Raj’s Father, Shri Jagiri Lal Loomba.
The Annual Diwali Gala Dinner 2008 in 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 at the Ballroom of the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York. Proceeds from the Gala will educate children of poor widows in India.
The Diwali dinner was attended by Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Trust & Foundation; Founder Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba; and Trustees 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.