Annual Charity Gala Dinner celebrating Diwali

annual-charity-gala-dinner-celebrating-diwali

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.

annual-charity-gala-dinner-celebrating-diwali

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

Lord Loomba launches World Widows Report at UN

UK_MISSION

The World Widows Report was launched by Lord Loomba at the United Nations in New York on March 17, with a warning that the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved unless urgent action is taken on the issue. The report shows that discrimination against widows is deeply ingrained in cultures across all continents, resulting in extreme poverty, gender-based violence, child labour, discrimination against girls, increased infant mortality and numerous other severe consequences which directly affect almost a billion people around the world. Significant change in these patterms will only come about if the underlying causes are directly addressed through legislation, education and empowerment.

As long ago as 2001, UN Women said that “there is no group more affected by the sin of omission than widows. They are painfully absent from the statistics of many developing countries, and they are rarely mentioned in the multitude of reports on women’s poverty, development, health or human rights.” The Loomba Foundation began addressing this omission and its World Widows Report is the first comprehensive compilation of available research about the plight of widows country by country and worldwide. It provides governments, NGOs and international organisations with an evidentiary basis for taking effective action and creates a baseline for further research.

“Widowhood is a hidden calamity,” Lord Loomba pointed out. “When an earthquake, tsunami or any other natural calamity happens, the world takes notice. We can measure the number of people who are killed and the financial consequences. The calamity of widowhood is far greater, affecting almost one seventh of humanity, yet it is largely invisible. This report is an attempt to put that right.”

The Report shows that discrimination against widows is a deep-rooted feature of gender discrimination all over the world, though its form and impacts differ from place to place and from culture to culture – from shocking stories of child widows below the age of 10 in parts of India, and widows in some African countries forced to undergo degrading “cleansing” rituals. Deprivation however extends also to developed countries, with widows in the former Soviet Union and in the United States significantly disadvantaged compared to their peers.

The deprivation of widows has knock-on effects on future generations, depriving dependent children of education and increasing the incidence of child labour, trafficking and prostitution. Countries affected by conflict and disease take far longer to recover as a result of the unjust treatment of their widows and these factors present major obstacles to achieving some of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, including the aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere and to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Former UK international development minister Baroness Northover appealed for concerted action by governments, NGOs and international organisations. Describing the Report as a challenge to researchers and governments to “fill in the gaps” and improve our knowledge further, she said its showed “how the cycle of widows’ deprivation entrenches the wider poverty that threatens the peace and stability of so many countries and communities; how discrimination against girls in education and employment is sustained by the plight of widows; and how widespread property theft and disregard of inheritance rights blights the lives of millions.”

The launch took place at a parallel event during the 60th anniversary meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which took place in New York last week. Earlier, its publication had been welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Mopn, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, the prime minister of India Mr Narendra Modi and the director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London, Dr Robin Niblett.

The Loomba Foundation has championed the cause of widows since it was first established by Lord and Lady Loomba in 1997 with a pledge to educate at least 100 children of poor widows in each of India’s 19 states within a decade – a target it achieved in seven years. In 2005 the Foundation launched International Widows Day to be hald as a global day of action on 23 June each year, and mounted a campaign which resulted in the unanimous adoption of International Widows Day by the United Nations General Assembly five years later. Today, The Loomba Foundation is a UN ECOSOC-accredited NGO speciallising in this issue. Lord Loomba, Founder and Chairman Trustee of The Loomba Foundation and Vice-Chair of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, told the meeting that The Loomba Foundation will continue its research and advocacy work to bring about the cultural change that is needed to eradicate this issue. The Foundation will continue working with the UK, Indian and other governments to ensure that the plight of widows is addressed in the work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and announced plans to establish a Global Consortium of Widows to help achieve these aims.

Day 30 – 30 Days and 1,260km Later…

Day 30 – 8 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Mahadevpura to ITC Gardenia, Bangalore

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1,260km

My name is Chris and I’m walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

I have just taken the last steps of my 1,260km journey.

Day 30 - 3

As I close my eyes, I have fleeting memories of sweeping coasts, coffee plantations, coconut trees, rivers meeting the sea, villagers going about their morning business, NH17, warm smiles, being reunited with music long ago played, a bucket and a jug, the first chai of the day and warm hospitality. [Read more…]

Day 29 – I Can Finally Start To Believe

Day 29 – 6 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Bellur Cross to Mahadevpura

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1218km

My name is Chris and I’m walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Well, day 29 done and I am finally prepared to allow myself to believe that I can do it. Thinking I had cracked it at any stage earlier was not something I allowed myself to do – my psychology doesn’t work in that way.

Day 29 - 2

Pawan asked in his recent comment why I had chosen to do this walkathon. I am sure there are a whole bunch of deep seated psychological reasons including some rather unattractive ones like needing to prove myself and seeking appreciation and approval but the main reason I am clear about is that I recognise I have been extremely fortunate during my life (the times when misfortune has descended, and there have been some very low points, have normally been self inflicted) so it was only right that I should try and do something positive. When I am in one of my more reflective moods and teaching at various law schools in India I will often remind the students that we are all given very different but special gifts and it is important that we should try and use these wisely. I have tried to use some of the gifts that I been have given in the planning, training for and execution of this walk.

This morning we met a group of Indians coming the other way who were on a ‘pad yatra’. They were led by a man called Sai Baba who explained that they were walking 300km from Bangalore to Dharmasthala. They didn’t seem particilarly interested in what we were up to until we told them I was ‘Chris Baba’ and were walking from Mumbai to Bangalore. My goodness that resulted in ‘respect’. See below for a photo of our meeting. [Read more…]

Day 28 – My Insight on the Walk After Three Days

Day 28- 6 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Hassan to Bellur Cross

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1176km

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

I managed to convince Ed to write a guest blog so I will be handing over to him. You should get the Day 29 blog tomorrow morning UK time and I will produce one more blog for my final day which you will receive later on in the day.

Chris 

Hi,

Guest blogger number 4 here. As promised in yesterday’s blog I, Ed Parsons, son of Chris ‘the walker’ Parsons have been handed the laptop to give insight into 30×30. Before I start I just want to say ‘walking is what we do’ not writing blogs but here goes.

My journey into India started off on the 24th January 2015. It was like any other winters day in Exeter. I was cycling to my 9am lecture when buzz buzz goes my phone (I pull over) and answer. It was Sam, my eldest brother, – although we speak on facebook fairly regularly a call was unusual so I was interested in what he had to say. It turns out he was calling to ask what I was up to in the next week or so and whether I wanted to go to India to walk with Dad. So it was set. Me and Sam were going to India. Unfortunately Sam doesn’t follow through with his promises and realised he couldn’t handle any marathons so he bailed on Dad. It was left to me to provide the support for Dad from the Parsons boys. This is loosely based on the truth  – unfortunately with the timing of getting visas Sam was no longer able to get time off from his Uni studies – I guess summing up the difference between a first year sport science degree and 5th year medicine degree.

At this point I must give lots of thanks to everyone who helped get the visa to me so quickly including the self-called ‘tangoed dwarf’ who handed over my passport to me at the airport.

On the plane I was inadvertently being acclimatised on the food front. Dinner I was told was a choice between lamb, chicken or an Indian vegetarian curry. Those who know me would know I would always choose the first two with the latter as a last resort. By the time the food got to me the last resort became just that and so I was left picking at a very unappetising vegetarian curry, not the best start but I ate the rice and settled down for the night being assured by the very apologetic air hostess that I would get my first choice at breakfast. The midweek flight to Bangalore turns out to not be too popular and so there were many free seats at the back – so I slept across three seats. An hour before landing I was awoken by the air hostess saying we were an hour from Bangalore and breakfast was being served. She then muttered the words I didn’t want to hear – “Sorry sir, all we have left is the Indian vegetarian option the passengers at the front had first pick as some missed out on their first choice during dinner service.”

So safe to say I landed in Bangalore very hungry but as I was soon to be with Dad the excitement was pulling me through. I got a taxi from the airport, thanks to the kind Kumar and his friends. A quick word of advice at this point. If you are ever asked by a driver if you like music the answer should be no as I found the opposite response resulting in Bollywood dance music being played at full blast for the remaining 5 hour journey with me trying to catch some much needed z’s before joining Dad for the best part of 5 marathons.

day_28_-_5 [Read more…]

Day 27 – Ed Turns Red or is it White?

Day 27- 5 Feb 2015 – 42km – Cumulative total 1134km

Travelled from Mudigere to Hassan

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Today was an excellent day for three reasons: (i) Ed was with me; (ii) the route was wonderful; and (iii) significantly, it was Atul’s 39th birthday – he kept that very quiet until this morning. So, a very very happy birthday to Atul and yet again all of my thanks for your selfless support. I know you will be missing your wife and son and they you and I’m sorry about that – hopefully I will have a chance to thank your wife personally at some stage.

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day_27_-_9 [Read more…]

Day 26 – Giving Ed a Big Hug and a Kiss

Day 26- 4 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Mudigere to Mudigere

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1092km

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Day 26 - 9

As you can imagine, the major highlight of my day was Ed arriving. To my amazement he was on the road with me by about 11.30am after 3 hours from Exeter to London, his 10 hour flight from London to Bangalore, his 4 and half hour drive from Bangalore to Mudigere, and half an hour with Vijay to find me on the road. You can imagine my joy as I gave him a big hug and a kiss high in the Western Ghats. I am extremely grateful to everyone who made Ed’s arrival possible and not least my star secretary Angie and Cookie who helped secure his visa urgently. Angie even travelled to Heathrow by tube to hand Ed his passport with his gleaming new visa personally. No time for a rest, Ed was able to join me for 25km and has had his first experience of the Indian roads and traffic but, more significantly, the Indian sun. As Vijay keeps saying Ed is very ‘lal’ (‘red’). Will be going for the factor 50 tomorrow.

Day 26 - 6

Day 26 - 7 [Read more…]

Day 25 – Heading East & Waiting for Ed

Day 25 – 3 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Mangalore to Mudigere

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1,050km

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Having conquered NH17 as we arrived into Mangalore last night you can imagine my horror as we set off this morning and joined NH48. Please read the previous four blogs and simply replace NH17 with NH48 and you will get a sense of my horror on this road. Thank goodness after about 20km, we picked up a much smaller road which, while still very busy with traffic at least had lovely views.

Day 25 - 1

On the NH73 which wasn’t as busy!

For the first time since leaving Mumbai we were now heading East rather than South and by the end of the day we had been climbing steadily into the Western Ghats so that we are now at 700m. [Read more…]

Day 24 – Goodbye Highway 17, Hello 1,000km!

Day 24 – 2 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Manipal to Mangalore

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 1,008km

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Let’s start with something really positive – 1,000km done. Yippee.

Now let’s look at something a little less positive – NH17 – my nemesis. I have now been on this wretched road for four whole days. At the very least I should be allowed to wear a special badge which says ‘I survived NH17’. At times today it appeared that things were looking up. NH17 became a proper dual carriage way. So I only had to look ahead to dodge the oncoming traffic. It may not have been the most scenic road in India but at least I was relatively safe. Correct? No – certainly not. Motorbikes, auto-rikshaws, cars, SUVs and even lorries were heading the wrong way down the dual carriage way – in other words, tucked in close to the curb to avoid the oncoming traffic and along the same bit of road that I was walking along. The complete disregard for pedestrian safety is staggering. As I hope Deb will confirm, I don’t swear very often but on NH17 I swore a lot.

How about this for friendliness, thoughtfulness and dedication over and above the course of duty. Two friends of Kumar joined me yesterday – Captain (Poorna) and his wife Brinda. They had driven 9 hours from Bangalore, walked with me on NH17 for (appropriately) 17km and then drove 9 hours back to Bangalore. Thank you Captain and Brinda. I am left speechless by your kindness.

I hope you enjoyed Sachin’s blog yesterday – the poor chap had fretted for about 48 hours over it and he finally pushed ‘send’ at 3pm today.

Yesterday morning we were joined by two Labradors from the resort. As we proceeded down the road we just assumed that at some stage they would just turn around and return home. After 3km it was clear that they would not. We suffered quite a delay forcing both the dogs into one of the cars so that we could drive them back – I am sure they would still be with us now otherwise.

Finally we managed to get a picture of me on a Royal Enfield Bullet. How do you think I look Deb?

Day 24 - 2 Day 24 - 3 [Read more…]

Day 23 – Meet Sachin ‘magic hands’ Mali

Day 23 – 1 Feb 2015 – Travelled from Baindoor to Manipal

Distance – 42km – Cumulative total 966km

My name is Chris and I’m Walking 1,260km from Mumbai to Bangalore to raise money for widows in India. I’m walking 30 Marathons in 30 Days and I will be writing a blog post every day. To follow my progress you can sign up to receive updates here. To read my previous blog posts click here. To make a donation please visit this page. Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment as they really do give me a lift when I read them every morning.

Hi,

As promised here is Sachin with his ‘guest’ blog and I will update you on both days tomorrow.

Chris xx

I am Sachin Mali,

Firstly I would like to say that writing this blog is punishment given to me by Chris for giving him so much pain. I offered to walk the remaining marathons as writing isn’t my cup of tea, but here I am.

I am the youngest of 2 sons and my older brother is an engineer in Bangalore. I am basically Mangalorean, my parents are from Mangalore and I have been living in Bangalore for 4 years.

I work for Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore as a full time Clinical Sports Physiotherapist. Apart from that I do part-time Fitness Coaching and Physical Therapy for the Elite Tennis players at Topseed Tennis Academy.

When my Head of Department announced there was going to be a marathon from Mumbai to Bangalore I grabbed the opportunity before anybody else could raise their interest. And I immediately started working on it. I am a Sports Physio and I have done research on long distance fitness so I was very excited to be a part of the team for this walk.

Well Chris!!! He is an actor, comedian, dancer, teacher, advisor, angry young man and of course, a Walker! He is an awesome human being. When I first met him, he looked very ordinary standing there in his suit, but he was very well prepared. He had a list of almost 15-20 pre-written questions and he started firing them at me.

Day 23 - 6 [Read more…]