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The Loomba Foundation and Barnardo’s launch initiative in aid of refugees from Ukraine in the UK

London, 16 June 2022: The Loomba Foundation, an international UN accredited NGO dedicated to improving the lives of widows, has partnered with Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, to support children and families fleeing Ukraine to settle in the UK.

The UK government has agreed to accept 50,000 refugees from Ukraine. Around half of all visas granted through the Homes for Ukraine and Family Visa schemes are for children, and many will be for vulnerable widows and women who have experienced huge upheaval and trauma who urgently need support in setting up a new life for themselves and their children. There is a critical challenge to ensure that each of these families receives the support they need, as quickly as possible, to give them the best chance of a brighter future.

The current system introduced by the Government to resettle 50,000 families goes some way to addressing the issue, but more resources and wide-ranging measures are essential, including pastoral and mental health support. Through their newly launched initiative, The Loomba Foundation and Barnardo’s aim to help fill some of the gaps to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of refugees escaping the devastating effects of war.

The initiative, which aims to support 1,000 families, will be presented at The Loomba Foundation’s 25th anniversary event on 23 June – International Widows Day – with former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair KG as Guest of Honour. The evening will be dedicated to fundraising in aid of the new partnership, with all proceeds used by The Loomba Foundation to fund the voucher initiative, which will be delivered by Barnardo’s.

The scheme will see a voucher issued to the value of £100 per family. This can then be spent in any of Barnardo’s 630 shops across the UK or online outlets on essential items including clothing, toys and furnishings. Vouchers will be issued to as many in need as possible via Barnardo’s Refugee helpline, which is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, or through referrals from local services or partner organisations such as the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of the Loomba Foundation, said: “The Loomba Foundation and Barnardo’s share a deep commitment to helping the cause of women and their families who have faced crisis and whose partners or fathers may have been killed or missing in action. The UK Government has made a provision to resettle 50,000 families but much more action, support and wider-ranging measures are urgently needed to help thousands of individual families. Our hope is that the voucher scheme, funded by our fundraising efforts, will help to support the immediate needs of vulnerable women and their dependents escaping the fighting and devastation in Ukraine and seeking to rebuild their lives in the UK.

Michelle Lee-Izu, Executive Director Development and Innovation at Barnardo’s, said:
“Barnardo’s has a long history of supporting children and families seeking sanctuary in the UK. Many of whose arriving from Ukraine will have experienced extreme trauma and Barnardo’s stands ready to support them. That’s why we are proud to partner with The Loomba Foundation in helping these children and families to build their new lives here in the UK – this start with providing essential items such as clothing and toys through our nationwide network of shops.”

For the past twenty-five years, The Loomba Foundation has been tirelessly advocating for greater recognition for the cause and struggles of 285 million widows globally, who care for approximately 540 million children. Having launched International Widows Day in 2005, the Foundation successfully campaigned for its adoption as a Global Day of Action by the 2010 UN General Assembly.

Barnardo’s has a long history of supporting those seeking sanctuary in the UK, including supporting widows and their children who have lost loved ones in combat. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the arrival of families in the UK seeking safety, Barnardo’s set up a free helpline staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers. This helpline provides help and advice on a range of issues including housing, healthcare, education, food bank vouchers, baby items, digital devices and also therapeutic support.

About the Loomba Foundation

The Loomba Foundation is a UN-accredited specialist NGO established to alleviate the plight of widows and their dependents worldwide and to eradicate discrimination and injustice against widows. The Foundation was established in 1997.

The Founder and Chairman Trustee, Lord Raj Loomba CBE, is a Crossbench Peer in the UK’s House of Lords, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and a Vice-President of Barnardo’s.

In 2005 Lord Loomba proposed International Widows Day as a global day of action to eradicate injustice and discrimination against widows. In December 2010, after a five-year campaign, the proposal was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly and since then International Widows Day has focused worldwide attention on the cause each year on 23 June. In 2016 The Loomba Foundation published the World Widows Report – the first comprehensive global study with country by country information about the plight of widows, one of the most marginalised and unfairly disadvantaged groups of humanity.

To find out more about the work of The Loomba Foundation, visit:

About Barnardo’s

Last year more than 382,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through 791 services and partnerships across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.     

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future.    

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out more.    
Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605.    
Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews    

For further information, please contact:
Gutenberg Communications
Alessandro Magarini – alessandro@thegutenberg.com
Alexandra Shilov – alexandra@thegutenberg.com

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