Bollywood Diva Kajol Commemorates Industry Stalwarts at The Loomba Foundation’s Annual Charity Dinner

Indian Actress Kajol Devgn and Lord Raj Loomba

New Delhi, 10th December, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bollywood superstar and international goodwill ambassador for The Loomba Foundation, Kajol, along with Founder and Chairman Trustee, Lord Raj Loomba CBE, was in the capital today to give away mementos and certificates of appreciation to leading industry stalwarts who have come forward to benevolently support the cause of educating children of poor widows in India. The Loomba Foundation, which is accredited by the United Nations, has funded the education of over 6500 children of poor widows and has supported 27000 family members in 29 states of India since 1999. In 2012, the Foundation will provide education to another 3000 children of widows in distress.

Key supporters whose contributions were appreciated by the Foundation:

Shri R.N. Nayak, Chairman and Managing Director, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. received the certificate on behalf the company for having pledged to support the education of 300 children of poor widows.

Shri V.P. Das, Chairman and Managing Director of National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. received the citation for NBCC sponsoring education of another 300 children of poor widows in India for five years.

Dr. R.P. Singh, Executive Vice Chairman of Jindal Power Limited was felicitated with a certificate of appreciation for sponsoring education for 200 children of poor Indian widows in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Brig. (Retd.) H. Chukrabuti Executive Vice President, Hinduja Foundation, was also recognized for his organization’s notable support and contribution to The Loomba Foundation.

The felicitation ceremony was followed by inauguration of The Loomba Foundation’s Annual Charity Dinner by its President, Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which is being sponsored by BNP Paribas Bank as the lead sponsor.

Addressing the audience, Lord Raj Loomba CBE, expressed his happiness with the success of this year’s Annual Charity Dinner, and said, “I am overwhelmed to see so many high profile industry leaders coming forward to support us in this noble cause tonight. All proceeds will be used for the education of children of poor widows in India.”

Lord Loomba added “While India has special privileges for women in general, there is a grave need to recognize the plight of the widows who are fraught with double the burden of supporting themselves as well as their children without any external support. When a woman loses her husband she loses her place in society. Widows are often ostracized by the society and are unable to remarry, poor, uneducated, and unable to find a decent job. Children of widows often end up on streets or work in factories where child-labour abuse is a commonplace.”

Over 200 high-profile guests attended the charity dinner including ministers, senior politicians, Members of Parliament, high commissioners, bureaucrats and business leaders. Some of the guests at the dinner included delegates from Tata Consultancy, Max India Foundation, Central Bank of India, Taj Hotels, Micromax Mobile, Herbert Smith LLP, and Rotary Blood Bank.  Harjiv Singh, Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, and co-founder and co-CEO of Gutenberg Communications, gave away the vote of thanks.

Due to its notable contributions to the cause of restoring human rights of widows, The Loomba Foundation has been gathering widespread support from renowned business leaders worldwide including Sir Richard Branson as the Foundation’s Patron-in-Chief. The Loomba Foundation was instrumental in getting official recognition for 23rd June as International Widows Day from the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, five years after the Day was launched by the Foundation at the House of Lords.

There are 245 million widows and over 500 million children of widows around the world. Over 115 million widows live in poverty struggling to survive and 1.5 million widows’ children worldwide die before reaching their fifth birthday. India alone has over 42 million widows in India rearing over 100 million children who are at a risk of not receiving an education in India.

The Loomba Foundation was established by Raj Loomba CBE and his wife Veena in the UK in 1997. It promotes fundamental freedoms and human rights of widows and their children around the world, raising awareness of the gross injustices widows face and seeking to remove stigmas associated with widowhood.

The Loomba Foundation declared 23rd June as International Widows Day at the House of Lords in May, 2005. The Foundation also published a comprehensive Research Study on widows worldwide and the first edition of was presented to the UN Secretary General, HE Ban Ki Moon on 22nd June, 2010 followed by presentations to the President of India and the US Secretary of State. The Foundation collaborates with UN bodies, other NGOs, government officials, human rights advocates and prominent leaders to fight for the over 245 million widows worldwide who suffer prejudice and discrimination.

The Loomba Foundation seeks to bring about gender sensitive reform of national laws and policies, eradicating anti-widow superstitions, traditions, and social practices.  It fosters gender equality and women’s empowerment by implementing poverty-reduction strategies and educational opportunities for widow’s and their children.

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