The Loomba Foundation promotes the fundamental freedoms and human rights of widows and their children around the world by:
- Educating Widows’ children
- Economic and Social Empowerment
- Advocacy through United Nations and National Government
Educating Widows’ Children
Children’s education is often one of the first things to suffer when their mothers’ become widows and children become orphans. The death of a husband and father is often preceded by an illness that has incurred large hospital bills. Afterwards their deaths, burial costs and the inevitable sharp drop in family income can result in families suffering severe poverty and its deprivations.
Since March 1999, the Loomba Foundation has been educating the children of widows in India through its education support programme, which has run continuously for over ten years. The objective set out at the start was to educate at least 100 children in each of India’s federal states, a target achieved in 2006. The programme’s first corporate sponsor was Virgin Unite, the charity of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group of companies, a partnership that started in 2000. Through the support of private and corporate donors, the programme has educated over 9,000 children to date. The programme also assisted in post-disaster recovery in Tamil Nadu where it supported the education of children orphaned by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
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Economic and Social Empowerment
The Loomba Foundation has put empowerment at the heart of its work. It does this by making widows self-sufficient economically through marketable skills training and provision of business start up capital. Through these, widows are able to provide for their families, including the education of their children. It also has an important impact on psychological well-being, allowing them to become self-confident and to develop self-worth.
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Advocacy through United Nations and National Government
The Loomba Foundation has made a determined effort to create better understanding and awareness of the problems widows and their children face around the world. It has done this principally through its annual event, International Widows Day, that it launched in 2005 as an international observance day for widows to raise awareness and advocate for change. The campaign also focused on having the United Nations recognise International Widows Day as a United Nations international observance day for widows. This was achieved in 2010, with the first United Nations International Widows Day observed on 23 June 2011. The Loomba Foundation also holds conferences on the widows problem, and uses research to deepen understanding and awareness, in 2009 it completed the first ever global research report on the status of widows.
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