Sir Richard Stagg KCMG, British High Commissioner to India, hosted the inauguration of The Loomba Trust 500 Club at his residence in New Delhi. The Loomba Trust 500 Club is an initiative that will enable individuals to educate a poor widow’s child by donating just Rs. 500 per month or a lump sum of Rs 6,000 for the year. The entire donation will go to the beneficiary and the administration cost will be borne by the Loomba Trust.
The aim of this new initiative is to increase the existing number of beneficiaries of 100 to 1,000 in the state of Delhi. Each beneficiary is selected irrespective of gender, religion, or class. Unlike the previous initiatives, the Trust has expanded the donor pool to a larger population base who may be interested in contributing to the cause.
The launch was attended by over 200 prominent and generous people in Delhi. The Trust raised Rs. 450,000 at the event through donations and auction of gifts kindly donated by Porsche, Ultra Motors, Opera Wines and Mr. Vikram Sahney.
A gala dinner on Saturday 4 April 2009, marked the official launch of the Loomba Trust in Kenya and was attended by many distinguished guests, including Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Trust, Founder and Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba CBE and Graham Shaw, Chairman of KYBT.
Working in association with HRH Prince Charles’ charity, Prince’s Youth Business International and the Kenya Youth Business Trust, the Loomba Trust already has a pilot project underway in Nairobi which has helped 28 young widows set up businesses.
The Loomba Trust, in partnership with Oxfam and the Mayor of Kigali, came together to empower and support 850 poor widows, including 500 survivors of the genocide through a range of self-help initiatives, including mushroom growing.
His Excellency, President Paul Kagame hosted a dinner to officially launch the Loomba Trust in Rwanda and the partnership programme on the eve of the official week of mourning for the 1994 genocide, in which 1,000,000 innocent victims, including half of the male heads of all households, were slaughtered.
The Loomba Trust, in association with the Commonwealth Business Council and the UK India Business Council, hosted a lunch at the House of Lords in honour of Dr. Barry Humphreys who had recently retired as Director of External Affairs and Route Development at Virgin Atlantic after 13 years.
Mrs. Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Trust and Founder and Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba CBE, thanked Dr. Barry Humphreys for his continued support of the Loomba Trust, through Virgin Atlantic over the years and is continuing to do so in his retirement.
Cherie Blair, the wife of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of the Loomba Trust and a leading advocate of human rights, appealed to the United Nations to recognise 23 June as International Widows Day. “Giving rights to widows and their children has been central to the work of the Loomba Trust since it became their champion more than a decade ago. ”This appeal came on the day that marked the campaign’s 5th anniversary celebrations at the House of Lords.
International Widows Day is seen by the Loomba Trust’s Founder and Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba CBE, as a rallying point for the Trust’s crusade to tackle the underlying issue of poverty. “Poverty is the curse of Mankind” he said. “But when you put it in the context of widows and their children, it creates a new dimension in inhumanity.”
Lord Dholakia hosted the London event, with the importance of the occasion underlined by the presence of His Excellency Sir Richard Stagg KCMG, the British High Commissioner to India as Guest of Honour. Sir Richard and his wife Lady Arabella are active supporters of the Trust’s work on the Indian sub-continent.
The guest list also included Sir Mark Tully, the former BBC correspondent who has often reported on the Loomba Trust’s work in the area of improving the rights of widows, and who subsequently became a Patron of the Trust, several years ago.
This year International Widows Day was celebrated not only in the UK, but also in the USA and India, as well as in a range of developing countries including Nepal, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Indian Polo Association, of which His Highness the Maharajah of Jodhpur is the official Patron, and the Hurlingham Polo Association, the World and England’s governing body, hosted two polo matches at Guards, the Queen’s polo ground in Ascot on Saturday 27th June 2009.
The first was the Jaipur Trophy match, which was in honour of the Rajmata of Jaipur, and was followed by the Ajit Singh Medtia Trophy match.
The Celebration Festival, who run this high profile event in the social calendar, selected the Loomba Trust as their chosen charity. Funds were raised from both a live and silent auction and the event was attended by over 200 guests.
The Founder and Chairman Trustee, Mr. Raj Loomba CBE, was invited by Las Vegas’ Indian Chamber of Commerce to speak at their inaugural dinner in Las Vegas on the subject of education of children of poor widows and empowerment of their mothers in India and to raise awareness of the plight of the widows.
The dinner was attended by over 400 leading dignitaries in Las Vegas, including the Mayor of Las Vegas and the famous Bollywood actor - Anil Kapoor from the film - Slumdog Millionaire.
The Founder Chairman and Trustee, Raj Loomba CBE, was invited by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, to speak at their conference in The Hague. The conference was attended by Hon’ble Minister, Shri Vayalar Ravi and many other leading dignitaries from Europe. Mr. Loomba’s topic at the conference was ‘Empowerment of the Indian Women and the Role of the Diaspora’.
The Loomba Trust’s sister charity, The Loomba Foundation, hosted its fifth Diwali dinner in the US at the Jumeirah Essex House in New York, to raise funds for the work of the charity and build awareness of the dire circumstances widows face. The dinner was attended by over 200 guests, including corporate leaders, politicians and diplomats from both the American and Indian communities in the tri-state New York area.
History was made by the Loomba Trust, as the first time ever Diwali, the Indian festival of lights was celebrated at the 800-year-old Guildhall in London.
The chief guest of the evening was the new High Commissioner for India, His Excellency Shri Nalin Surie, who earlier in the day had presented his letters of credence to the Queen, and his wife, Mrs. Surie, who were greeted by the Cherie Blair, the President of the Loomba Trust.
Guest of Honour, Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, Foreign Secretary, was amongst 475 leaders of business and government at the dinner. The Foreign Secretary praised the work of the Loomba Trust and congratulated the Trust’s Founder and Chairman, Raj Loomba CBE, for his dedication and tireless efforts to raise awareness of the plight of poor widows and their children around the world.
The famous and charismatic Bollywood star, Preity Zinta, who this year won the best actress award at the Chicago International Film Festival for Deepa Mehta’s film Heaven and Earth, in which she played the role of a wife subjected to domestic violence, added a touch of glamour to the evening. Preity said she was honoured to be associated with such a prestigious charity and as her mother was widowed when she was only 13 years old, she fully understood the problems widows face in India and wanted to support the work of the Loomba Trust to alleviate the plight of widows in India and other countries. She accepted to become an International Ambassador of the Loomba Trust and made an appeal to the audience to join hands with her and support the charity.
The event, the Trust’s 11th charity gala dinner in the UK, raised over £400,000, which will enable the Trust to continue the education of 3000 children of poor widows in India and empower Rwanda’s 850 widows, including 500 genocide victims - where half of the male heads of all households lost their lives in the inter-tribal conflicts – by helping them set up small business co-operatives. This project will be run in association with Oxfam GB and The Mayor of Kigali.