The Loomba Foundation, an international UN accredited NGO dedicated to improving the lives of widows, commemorated its 25th anniversary last week, on International Widows Day.
The London event was dedicated to raising funds for a initiative launched by the Loomba Foundation in partnership with Barnardo’s, the UK's largest children's charity, to support families, including mothers and their children, fleeing war-torn Ukraine to settle in the UK. The evening culminated with the successful fundraising of more than £60,000 within just a few minutes, with donations still ongoing. The Loomba Foundation has a goal to reach £100,000 going forward to fund the initiative with Barnardo’s to help 1,000 families.
A £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. Most recipients are likely to be vulnerable women and children who may have lost husbands and fathers in the conflict. They have experienced significant upheaval and trauma and require urgent support to set up a new life.
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Sir Tony Blair KG, former British , took to the stage to congratulate Lord Loomba on the milestone anniversary and the launch of this new initiative with Barnardo’s. He recalled how in 1997, seeing that this charity stood for a strong cause, his wife, Cherie Blair QC CBE, pledged to embark on the journey with Lord Loomba to advocate for official UN recognition of International Widows Day.
Cherie Blair QC CBE, President of the Loomba Foundation, said: “Huge congratulations to Lord Loomba for the amazing achievements of The Loomba Foundation as it turns 25 years old. The hard work paid off in 2010 when International Widows Day was finally recognised by the United Nations. 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 .”
Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of the Loomba Foundation, said: “I extend my special thanks to Tony and Cherie for their dedication, commitment and support over many years, and I’m confident that without it we would not be where we are today.
“I was extremely touched by the generosity of our supporters in aid of 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.”
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Michelle Lee-Izu, Executive Director Development and Innovation at Barnardo’s, added: “Barnardo’s has a proud history of supporting children and families seeking sanctuary in the UK, and in recent months we have stepped in to help those arriving from Ukraine.
“We are delighted to be working with The Loomba Foundation to provide vouchers to refugee families so they can buy the very basics – such as clothes, toys and bedding. 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.”