I’d like to share some exciting news as we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Europa Forum whereby we will be working with Lions Cubs International on more projects. This means we can help even more widows in India. The idea behind this is to provide sewing machines to widows and the Lions will match and then double our donation. This is known as a 1-2-4 model and means that for every sewing machine the Loomba Foundation provides, it will be doubled twice. Therefore if we provide 1 sewing machine through any donations from our supporters, it will turn into 4 machines! We will of course need to discuss and explore this agreement in more detail and, we will keep you up to date on any developments.
In 2013 we carried out a project to help widows in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. With the help of the Sri Aurobindo Society we selected 100 widows who were trained for 2 months so they could learn to make garments. After the training was completed each widow was supplied with a sewing machine so they could start making use of their new skills. The project was carried out in conjunction with Aurobindo’s program known as SWARM which stands for ‘Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement’ which is a progressive village community model that is sustainable, replicable and scalable.
The Sri Aurobindo Society have kindly produced a video which provides an insight into the work that was carried out to help widows and also shows their journey of learning to sew and using sewing machines. Also, it’s nice to see the widows laughing and being happy.
On 29th October 2014 I received a Lifetime Achievement award from the United Nations Association of New York. It was a very proud moment for me as it was recognition for the work I have carried out over the years in my quest to help widows and their children. The occasion was the ‘Humanitarian of Year’ awards in order to mark UN Day. The theme for the awards was ‘Empowering Women, Promoting Peace and Progress’ and the honorees selected were individuals and organisations who have shown extraordinary commitment to social entrepreneurship, gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the world.
Ban Ki-Moon was unable to attend the dinner and presentation but he wrote a message in the program and I just want to share one line in particular as it highlights why it is so important to keep helping widows:
“The United Nations draws a direct link between progress for women and advancements across society as a whole.”