Activity Report / 2005-06
The Loomba Trust – Activity Report
April 2005 – June 2006
The objectives of the Loomba Trust 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 trustees may determine.
The Trust aims to expand its educational 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 Trust 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 Trust was established in the UK on 26 June 1997. It was created by Raj and Veena Loomba by charitable trust 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 Trust aims to educate the children of poor widows throughout India.
The Trust 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 Trust also received the support of the Prime Minister of India, The Honourable Atal Behari Vajpayee, who inaugurated the Trust in New Delhi on 31 March 1999 by lighting a lamp at his residence.
The Trust was honoured that Cherie Booth QC, who became the first Patron of the Trust in 1998, agreed to become the President of the Trust and officially inaugurated Loomba House in London on 8th September 2004.
In 2004, the Trust started “The Loomba Trust Partnership Initiative”, which will enable corporations and individuals to educate 100 children of poor widows in India through the charity. Donors may choose any state or city of their choice.
The Loomba Trust 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 Trust, 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.
Activity and Fundraising
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 Trust 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 Trust 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.
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.
21st October, 2005 – Cherie Booth QC announced the US Launch of the Loomba Trust 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 Trust 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 Trust raised over £180,000 at the event, which will enable the Trust 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 Trust 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 Trust at a gala function organized by the cosmetics company M.A.C. at Viva Glam V at Covent Garden.. In his brief remarks, Livingstone praised the work of the trust 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 Trust’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 Trust through “Change for Children” appeal, on virgin flights worldwide.
23rd June, 2005 - The first International Widows Day was marked by the Trust 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 Trust 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.