Charity walk to celebrate International Widow’s Day
Around twenty prominent women participated in a charity walk with a herd of goats across London Bridge on June 23 in a bid to mark the second anniversary of the UN-recognised International Widow’s Day.
Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, took the lead in the walk as the president of the Loomba Foundation together with former singer and TV presenter Cilla Black to raise awareness to the plight of widows worldwide.
“Various people have kindly sponsored the goats, so that widows will be able to earn an income from them – not these particular goats obviously – but goats across the world,” Cherie Blair told reporters.
Despite rainy showers at the event, special guests showed excitement when walking with locally-bred goats, which symbolise wealth and prosperity as sustainable living for widows across Africa and South Asia.
International Widow’s Day, annual global day of actıon to address the poverty and ınjustice faced by widows, was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly on December 22 2010. The initiative was introduced by the Loomba Foundation ın 2005.
The day of recognition was ended with a banquet at the Banqueting House, Whitehall. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg attended the dinner as the chief guest.
The Upcoming talked with the founder of International Widow’s Day, Lord Raj Loomba.
What does International Widow’s Day mean to you?
I am pleased to observe the international community has recognised the needs and rights of widows. It is an important cause as the UN said half of the 245 million widows face poverty.
How do you personally tell the hardship of widows?
Women in many countries experience hardship after their husbands have died, most often they are being thrown out on the streets by their families and excluded from society. A lot of them are facing abuse, eviction and forced marriage without the protection of a husband. My mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, became a widow on this day (June 23) in 1954. She was not looked after by government or NGOs, facing social and economic discrimination. Because of her, I was inspired to set up the Loomba Foundation.
What is the plan for your foundation this year?
We are planning to launch the Empower 10,000 widows campaign in India. We are going to announce it at the banquet tonight and ask for donations and support from different parties, both government, corporations and individuals.
The Upcoming also talked with Mrs Aruna Oswal, trustee of the Loomba Foundation, who took part in the charity walk.
How did you find the charity walk?
It was a wonderful experience, very unique, especially on International Widow’s Day. This is the second year of action, it means another step forward to our dream fulfıllment.
What are the aspirations and dreams?
We hope to empower 10,000 widows in a year by providing training of sewing machines and taking care of livestock to them. We want to achieve higher and help more widows actually, this is just a start.
Photos: Sherrine Abdou