KYIV: Indian-origin entrepreneur and peer Lord Raj Loomba has leveraged a foundation created for the upliftment of widows in India to raise over GBP 60,000 to help families fleeing war-torn Ukraine to build new lives in the UK.
The Loomba Foundation, an international United Nations-accredited NGO dedicated to improving the lives of widows in India and worldwide, commemorated its 25th anniversary on International Widows Day on June 23.
A fundraising drive launched with the children’s charity Barnardo’s at an anniversary gala in London attended by former British prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair has continued to attract donations this week.
The Loomba Foundation has set a goal to reach GBP 100,000 going forward to fund the initiative with Barnardo’s to help 1,000 families.
“I was extremely touched by the generosity of our supporters in aid of women and their dependents fleeing Ukraine and am calling on anyone in a position to do so to give what they can as we work with Barnardo’s to provide urgent help for families settling in the UK,” said Lord Loomba, who set up the foundation in honour of his own widowed mother 25 years ago.
The Loomba Foundation went on to lobby for the cause and in 2010, the United Nations designated June 23 as International Widows Day.
“It has been a huge privilege to work by his side and to see our community of global supporters grow. While we have come far, there is still a long way to go. We will not rest until the many grave injustices faced by widows are eliminated for good, aiming for the day when every widow has the help she deserves to rebuild her life and secure a bright future for her children,” said Cherie Blair, the President of the Loomba Foundation.
Michelle Lee-Izu, executive director, Development and Innovation at Barnardo’s, said the funds raised through the Loomba Foundation partnership would help support children and families seeking sanctuary in the UK.
A GBP 100 voucher will be issued to each family settling in the UK from Ukraine to be spent in any of Barnardo’s 630 physical shops or online on essential items including clothing, toys and furnishings.
“We know that many women and children will have lost fathers and husbands, and all will have suffered the trauma of fleeing their home and moving to a new country. This new scheme will help them take the first vital steps towards settling in the UK and working towards a positive future,” she said.
Bollywood filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala, a special guest at the fundraiser last week, announced that he will be producing a feature film to raise awareness of the plight of widows around the world as well as funds to help them.