June 23rd 2006 - International Widows Day, was
announced first by Cherie Blair at a House of Lords luncheon on
May 26th given by the Loomba Trust, and formally announced at the
United Nations on October 21st, 2005, in the presence of Kofi Annan
and Cherie Blair.
International Widows Day will be celebrated
in the UK with a concert and conference. The host of the conference
is the Loomba Trust.
Chairman Trustee, Raj Loomba, founded The Loomba
Trust in memory of his mother, who was widowed at the early age
of 37 in India with seven children to raise by herself. His mother,
Pushpa Wati Loomba, was convinced that her children must each
have a thorough education even though she had no formal schooling
herself. That decision was possible because Raj’s father had
been a successful businessman and left sufficient funds for his
mother to fulfill her wishes for her children. But there are thousands
of widows in India in far less fortunate positions who have, until
now, had no such choice. Being a widow in India isn't a sin but
it certainly carries a social stigma, which weakens her social position
The mission of the Loomba Trust is to educate
the children of poor widows in India so they may have a better future.
Cherie Booth QC Announces US Launch of the Loomba Trust at a Dinner
at the United Nations, New York.
New York – (October 21, 2005) – Cherie Booth QC announced
the US Launch of the Loomba Trust at the 60th Anniversary Celebration
of the United Nations in New York, in the presence of the UN Secretary
General, Mr. Kofi Annan.
The Gala Dinner was held on October 21st, 2005 at the U.N. Delegates
Dining Room at the United Nations and hosted by the United Nations
Association of New York. This announcement in the United States
was made in order to elevate the issues facing widows as one of
the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.
The Loomba Trust is a UK based charity, which is educating children
of poor widows in India. Earlier this year, the Loomba Trust designated
June 23rd as International Widows Day in the United Kingdom and
India. The Loomba Trust was created in 1997 by Raj Loomba and his
wife, Veena, in memory of Raj’s late mother who single-handedly
raised him and his six siblings after she was widowed at the age
of 37 in the Punjab in India in 1954.
As President of the Loomba Trust, Ms Booth is an active participant
in the championing of the rights of widows. Ms Booth hopes to raise
awareness of the hundreds of millions of widows and their children
throughout the world’s developing nations, many of whom are
forced from their homes and denied access to essential resources.
Also attending the dinner included the Founder and Chairman Trustee,
Mr. Raj Loomba and his wife, Mrs. Veena Loomba, Lord Dholakia,
a Trustee and member of the House of Lords, and Mr. and Mrs. Barry
Humphreys of Virgin Atlantic Airways. Sir Richard Branson, Chairman
of Virgin Group, is educating 500 children of poor widows in India,
through the Trust.
Speaking about International Widows Day Ms. Booth said, “We
hope to raise awareness of the living conditions of widows in developing
countries and to aid in finding a solution to this injustice against
women. We are confident that the U.N. will recognize the need to
draw attention to this critical issue.”
Raj Loomba, Chairman: “Our trust is currently focusing on
widows in India, but we believe that this assistance should spread
across the globe. We already have industrialists and corporations
in Britain backing us. It is our hope that philanthropists from
the United States will join us also.”
The Loomba Trust is committed to educating at least 100 children
of widows across India’s 29 states, while also promoting
the rights of more than 33 million widows throughout that country.
Currently, these women and their children are suffering through
poverty, illiteracy, social injustice and diseases like HIV/AIDS
and Malaria. Many of them have also been forced from their homes
and denied access to essential resources.