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Raj Loomba, Cherie Blair, Kofi Annan, and Veena Loomba
  International Widows Day

Press Release

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  DATE: 11/15/05 ORIGIN: USA / UK

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, Shrimati 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 in society.

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.


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