January 22 2016,  17.51 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

The Loomba Foundation is providing a 2-months’ skills training certificate course in garment-stitching and a foot-operated sewing machine to 5000 widows in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

At an event organized today by India’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave away sewing machines to five poor widows to support The Loomba Foundation’s project of empowering 5,000 widows in the holy city of Varanasi, India’s most visited pilgrimage destination and one of world's oldest living cities. Ironically, Varanasi is also known as the city of widows, where several of them come to spend the rest of their lives after being ostracized by their families and the society. The 2011 Population Census of India estimates that Varanasi has more than 90,000 widows.

Founded by Lord Raj Loomba CBE and his wife, Lady Veena Loomba, in the U.K. in 1997, The Loomba Foundation is a global NGO accredited by the United Nations (UN) that works exclusively for the upliftment of widows and their children. It also has sister charities registered in India and the USA. The day on which Lord Loomba’s mother had become a widow – 23rd June – has been recognized as the UN International Widows Day, which is observed globally and has brought the world’s attention to this neglected humanitarian crisis. Since the inauguration of its India chapter by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India, in 1999, the Foundation has empowered several thousands of widows and educated their children across 29 states in India. The Loomba Foundation has also worked for the cause of widows in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Syria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Malawi and Guatemala.

Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman-Trustee, The Loomba Foundation, said, “We are indebted to Prime Minister Modi ji for supporting the cause of impoverished widows so they can earn a dignified livelihood. Under his guidance, The Loomba Foundation is providing skills-training and sewing machines to 5,000 widows in Varanasi. But our efforts are just a tiny drop in the ocean. India has the highest number in the world with more than 46 million widows and over 100 million children that need support from all of us as individuals, policy makers and corporates alike.” Lord Loomba also presented a copy of The Loomba Foundation’s World Widows Report to PM Modi, which is the most authoritative and comprehensive country-wise data source on the plight of widows, and reveals that the number of widows in the world has gone up by 9% since 2010. There are over 258 million widows & their 585 million children worldwide.

Last year, the Indian Government conferred Lord Raj Loomba with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his exceptional contribution to empower poor widows and their children in India. Lord Loomba is also the recipient of the United Nations Association of New York’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Forbes India Philanthropy Award, Asian of the Year Award, and an Honorary Fellowship by The University of Northampton.

Lord Loomba & Lady Veena Loomba travelled from London to attend the event. Several trustees of The Loomba Foundation were also present including Rajya Sabha MP and former cabinet minister Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa; Indian-origin entrepreneur and Founder & Chairman of BMK Group of hotels in Canada, Dubai & India, Shri Balbir Singh Kakar; and Shri Harjiv Singh, Founder and CEO of Salwan Media Ventures that publishes South Asia's largest online study abroad publication, Braingain Magazine, and hosts the annual One Globe Conference on transforming India into a 21st century knowledge economy. Ms. Madhuruchi Lamba, CEO of the Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust, also participated on behalf of The Foundation’s Trustee Smt. Aruna Oswal. Five hundred beneficiary widows were also present along with The Loomba Foundation’s country head Mr. Pratap Singh and team members Atul Palta, Pawan Kumar, Hemant Sharma, Ajay Singh and others.