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The Loomba Trust Activity report 2005


2007: A Significant Year for The Loomba Trust

It has indeed been a momentous year and we are determined to build on the foundations we have laid both in India and internationally. During the year, the Trust has organised events in the UK, USA and India both to raise awareness and the much-needed funds.  Cherie Blair and Lord Dholakia visited India in January, 2008 for 5 days during which they met the Trust’s beneficiaries in Mumbai, Punjab and Delhi.

The Trust aims to create awareness about the plight of widows and to provide help for them and their families. It also works to tackle the massive problems of empowering widows and educating their children through Corporate Social Responsibility. We continue working closely with all our Patrons, Trustees, advisors, partners and supporters through out the world.

 In India, we are continuing to educate 3600 children, same as last year, of poor widows and their mothers in all 29 states, including 500 children who lost their father or both parents in the devastating tsunami in Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu. All beneficiaries are selected irrespective of religion, gender and caste, who will receive scholarship for an initial period of 5 years.  

As part of our global work, we have begun to collaborate with the Prince of Wales’ international charity, Youth Business International, to start businesses and create opportunities for disadvantaged young widows and youth in Uganda, Bangladesh, Kenya and Sri Lanka. We also continue our partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s charity, Virgin Unite, to support 1500 HIV orphans in South Africa.

We have produced an International Widows Day dossier, which highlights the plight of widows and their children around the world, who are suffering through poverty, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, conflict and social injustice. The dossier will be distributed to every UN representative and foreign ministers of all member countries. Our campaign to get the UN recognition of International Widows Day is real and active.

London Premiere of Deepa Mehta’s film - WATER

We were delighted that working in connection with Metrodome and the Habib Bank AG Zurich, the Loomba Trust co-hosted the Premier of “Water”, a film by Deepa Mehta. Lisa Ray attended the premiere.

Water, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language film this year, tackles the controversial role of widows in India. The film explains the continuing anguish, poverty and isolation the majority of the 35 millions widows still face.

Set against the epic backdrop of the River Ganges in 1938 during Mahatma Gandhi’s rise to power, Water is the inspiring tale of an eight year old Hindu girl names Chuyia. Chuyia’s life is suddenly changed when she is widowed and sent to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence.

She refuses to accept her fate and her feisty presence begins to affect the lives of the other residence, including a beautiful young widow (Lisa Ray of Bollywood/Hollywood) who has fallen in love with Gandhian idealist, Narayan (Bollywood star John Abraham).

23rd June 2007 - International Widows Day – an Annual Campaign Day

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.

17th October 2007 - Diwali at The Mansion House in London

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 TelecityGroup 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.

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