Monday 23rd June 2008 will mark a significant day of awareness for the plight facing widows around the world, as The Loomba Trust, for which Cherie Blair is President and patrons include HRH Prince of Wales, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Mark Tully, Alastair Stewart, Yoko Ono and Joanna Lumley, stages the International Widows Day Concert in London’s Trafalgar Square. The capital’s most popular location for open air concerts and public gatherings will play host to over 300 A-list, international celebrities, VIPs and dignitaries, who will be joined in unison with members of the public, to raise the unheard voice of isolated widow communities across the globe.
The free to attend concert will bring together on stage a world class and eclectic line-up of top bands and celebrated artists from across the globe in what promises to be one of the UK’s most dynamic summer concerts, highlighting a cause that is beginning to draw global attention.
Raj Loomba, Founder and Chairman of The Loomba Trust, a UK-based charity established in 1997, has a personal mission to highlight the struggles and stigma facing widows and their children from all over the world and to provide a focus for effective action. Loomba’s direct association and impetus to establish the Trust was inspired by his mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, who was widowed at the age of 37 in 1954 and single-handedly raised seven young children.
Widows in many developing countries face extreme hardship and often bring up their children in poverty. The Trust relentlessly aims to help remove the stigma associated with losing a husband, providing support with essential needs such as healthcare and education. Through its work, The Loomba Trust is actualising one of the most important and effective ways of fighting global poverty and injustice – a key factor in achieving the United Nations Millennium Goals. It is the mission of The Loomba Trust to harness the support of the United Nations, to eradicate the social injustices and hardships facing the developing world’s widow communities.
The Loomba Trust gives practical help to widows and their children, in particular through education, and draws worldwide attention to the plight of this disadvantaged yet often neglected group. There are over 100 million widows worldwide who suffer dreadful prejudice and discrimination – who can be denied their right to inheritance, can be abused, isolated and pushed to the very fringes of society. And, of course, it is their children who are also punished, often forced to opt out of school because of lack of money.
The Loomba Trust is currently educating over 3,600 children of poor widows in India and supporting their mothers to live a life of dignity. As part of its global work, it is supporting a community building project for 1,500 HIV orphans in South Africa, in partnership with Virgin Unite, Sir Richard Branson’s charity. The Trust has become a global Partner with HRH Prince of Wales’ charity, Youth Business International, and has launched the Loomba Entrepreneur Programmes to empower young widows by setting up businesses for them in Uganda, Kenya, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Join celebrities and supporters alike at the International Widows Day musical extravaganza, taking place on 23rd June 2008 in Trafalgar Square, London.