Annual Charity Gala Dinner celebrating Diwali

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The Loomba Foundation – Annual Charity Gala Dinner celebrating Diwali, 147th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and International Day of Non-Violence
Guest of Honour – Mr. G. P. Hinduja the Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Foundation
Venue: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1Qa
Date: Thursday, 13th October, 2016

The Loomba Foundation is hosting its annual charity gala dinner on the 13th of October and it is shaping up to be another fantastic occasion. The event follows successful gala dinners in previous years and follows other events held by the Loomba Foundation all over the world.

The gala dinner will celebrate the Indian festival of lights – Diwali, Mahatma Gandhi’s 147th birthday and International Day of Non-Violence. We are expecting over 300 high profile guests, including senior politicians, diplomats, dignitaries and business leaders to attend the dinner.

There are over 44 million widows in India. Many of them live in poverty struggling to survive. They are malnourished, exposed to disease, and subjected to slavery. Widowed women experience targeted murder, rape, prostitution, forced marriage, property theft, eviction, social isolation, and physical and psychological abuse. Children of widows face horrors such as child marriage, illiteracy, loss of schooling, forced labour, child trafficking, homelessness, and rape.

The Loomba Foundation, an UN accredited global charity, is promoting the fundamental freedoms and humans rights of widows and their children in India and around the world by raising awareness of gross injustices women face when losing a husband. We work together with UN bodies, governments and activists to fight for widows who suffer dreadful prejudice and discrimination by promoting gender sensitive reform of national laws and policies, eradicating anti-widow superstitions, traditions, and social practices, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, implementing poverty-reduction strategies, and promoting opportunities for the education of their children.

A key aspect of the work is helping change a mind-set which is engrained in a culture. A stigma has been associated with widows and it is part of our work to help change this thinking. The work of the foundation over the last number of years has focused on the education of children of poor widows and empowering their mothers. This certainly had a positive impact on that individual’s life and helped them reach heights not imaginable before the Foundations intervention. When thinking about how we can impact on even more people’s lives we thought about the widow. If they are empowered, can make a positive contribution and in turn educate their children then this will have a trickle-down effect on their children. We conducted a recent impact analysis with the University of Northampton and the findings show that for every widow we help it actually has a positive impact on 10 people’s lives.

Last year, we raised sufficient funds with the support of Lions Clubs International Foundation to empower 2,600 impoverished widows in India. To date, the Foundation has raised funds to empower over 15,000 impoverished widows in India, who will receive a vocational training in tailoring for two months and a foot-operated sewing machine after completing the training.

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Every event hosted by the Loomba Foundation has been a great success. The Foundation is growing from strength to strength and we expect this year to be a catalyst to reach greater heights. We have a clear ambition and we know we can achieve our goals with the help of your kind donations. These events bring people together to highlight the issue, raise much needed funds and enable the work to be carried out over the months that follow.
The aim of The Loomba Foundation is to empower 1,000 widows in every state in India. The only way we can do that is matching our ambition with your donations. Lord Loomba CBE said “The impact of this project would be that not only 30,000 widows will be economically empowered, but they will also educate about 90,000 children assuming that they have three children on average. They will further support 180,000 of their family members assuming there are around six family members in each household. Therefore, 300,000 people stand to benefit from this project,”
We also have other upcoming events around the world. We will be hosting an event in India on the 5th of November and New York on the 1st of December. Going towards Christmas we will be running our annual Christmas appeal. Of course, similar to recent years, we will be building up to International Widows Day on the 23rd of June next year. This day which we helped commission will be marked next year with an even greater push to raise awareness for this cause. We believe with the work we have done and the supporters we have gathered that the 23rd of June 2017 will be a really special occasion, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Your kind donation of £50 will empower a widow in India. For all ticket enquiries, event sponsorship or if you are interested in sponsoring a widow please get in touch: safdar@theloombafoundation.org

Planning the Walk for Widows Route from Mumbai to Bangalore!

Chris Parsons is going to walk 1,260km in January from Mumbai to Bangalore and one of the most important aspects of the pre-walk planning is ensuring he knows the route he has to follow and where he can stop to eat, receive treatment, rest and sleep along the route and at the end of the each day. This requires meticulous planning and will ensure Chris only has to deal with issues relating to walking.

Chris therefore enlisted the help of a gentleman called HV Kumar (otherwise known as HiVayKing) as he is a road and highway expert in India. HV Kumar completed the whole course by car so he could plan the route taking into consideration that Chris is aiming to walk 42km per day. Listed below is the route he is going to follow day by day and the via routes show where he will pass each day. Day 28 does not list any via routes as it is all barren land between the start and end points.

While researching the route HV Kumar took a video of the route so this will give you an insight on what Chris is going to see and deal with over the course of the 30 days! [Read more…]

Working with Lions Clubs International to Help More Widows!

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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.

[Read more…]

Using Sewing Machines to Help Widows in Tamil Nadu

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.

[Read more…]

The United Nations New York Association and my Lifetime Achievement Award

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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.

United Nations Award Lord Loomba

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.”

[Read more…]

Walk for Widows Interview with Chris Parsons Part 2

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Chris Parsons will be starting his 30 Marathons in 30 Days in January 2015 and this interview is to find out how he is preparing and how this challenge came about. For those of you that don’t know, Chris has taken on the challenge of walking 30 marathons in 30 days in order to raise $1 million for widows in India. Therefore this requires a big commitment from Chris physically and also mentally!

You can hear directly from Chris below on how much preparation and training is going into this challenge. This is the 2nd part of the interview and to read the first part please click here.

Walk for Widow Road

Have you had any specialist advice regarding how you should approach each marathon? [Read more…]

Helping 5,000 Widows in Punjab… Our Project Goes Live!

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I am very pleased to announce that our partnership to help 5,000 widows in the State of Punjab has gone live!  It makes me very happy when a project actually starts and it is also the state where I was born which makes it even more satisfying. It takes a lot of work and patience to get some projects in motion so I’m very grateful to my team in London and India for all their hard work as well the government in Punjab for becoming partners. The involvement of the government in Punjab is a key factor in not only helping widows but creating awareness that we hope other states will follow.Punjab-Widows

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab inaugurates the Loomba Foundation’s partnership project in Ludhiana in Punjab on 22nd August 2014

[Read more…]

Walk for Widows. Interview with Chris Parsons Part 1 of 2

Walk for Widows Trainers

As part of the build up to Chris Parson’s Walk for Widows, there are less than 5 months to go, I asked him if he would like to answer some questions. The 30 marathons in 30 days is a massive undertaking requiring a lot of planning let alone training so this is an insight into how Chris has been preparing for this very difficult task. The interview is split into two parts and the last part will be published next month.

Q. How did you actually decide on walking 30 marathons in 30 days? I know you are celebrating 30 years service at your law firm but why 30 walking marathons in 30 days?

A. It was because I had this idea of 30 in my mind and therefore I wanted to do something with 30 in it. I wanted to do something meaningful, something significant that would also help with fundraising so lots of people do great things to raise money but I realised that if I wanted to try to raise a million dollars I needed to do something big, extreme and difficult. So it seemed to come together, 30 years, 30 marathons, 30 days!

Walk for Widows Trainers

Photo credit

[Read more…]

Why I Initiated a Debate on Widows at the House of Lords

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I initiated a debate at the House of Lords on Monday 30th June 2014 asking what the UK Government is doing to raise awareness of International Widows Day. These debates known as Questions for Short Debate (QSD) allow members of the House of Lords to ask questions to Her Majesty’s Government. Therefore I used this opportunity to lobby the government to see if they can include widow’s issues in the UN’s post Millennium Development goals.

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It was an interesting debate which ended with Baroness Northover making some closing remarks and these points in particular: [Read more…]

Sewing Machines to Empower Widows in the State of Punjab

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In August 2014 we will be officially launching our partnership with the Punjab Government where we will be helping 5,000 widows. The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has agreed to launch this project in Ludhiana on 22nd August. The Chief Minister has invited 1,000 guests to attend the launch as he wants to inspire other states, organisations and high net-worth individuals to come forward to help widows and their children in India. 

The widows will undergo training for 2 to 3 months and will each receive their own sewing machine so they can make garments. Naturally I was very pleased when we managed to secure this partnership as the widows will earn money, become self sufficient, educate their children and lead a life of dignity. 

Widow with sewing trainer Punjab blog Opt

[Read more…]