The charity founded in 2007 by His Majesty King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, spotlighted some of its milestones including a major mental health programme across South Asia and the launch of a $50-million Child Opportunity Fund set up to give millions of children better opportunities for the future.
The Labour Party Leader was joined by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, and prominent British Indians as Sir Keir took to the stage to light a symbolic diya or lamp and received garlands of flowers from children on behalf of the community.
Sir Keir said: “On behalf of the Labour Party, I want to give my thanks to the British Asian Trust for hosting tonight’s reception to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a time when we mark the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil and of knowledge over ignorance.
“In dark times such as these, it is more important than ever that we focus on a positive future in which we work together across communities and faiths. Only by doing so will we ensure that everyone, no matter their background, has an opportunity for a peaceful, fulfilled and happy life.
“Tonight, I reiterate my gratitude to the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities for the enormous contribution they make to this great country of ours. Your positive impact is felt across so many spheres and sectors, and that your contribution is pursued in accordance with your spiritual convictions, reflects the powerful message of Diwali.”
Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Chair of the British Asian Trust, noted: “The British Asian Trust has a proud history of bringing together people of all faiths and backgrounds to work together for positive change.
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“We were delighted to celebrate Diwali with Sir Keir Starmer and we hope this helps us to shine a light on the important work we do across South Asia.”
The Diwali celebrations were supported by OakNorth Bank, the neobank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, and VFS Global – the world’s largest visa outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide.
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Since it was founded 16 years ago, the British Asian Trust has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 12 million people in South Asia. It is recognised for its award-winning innovative work across South Asia and for pioneering the use of Development Impact Bonds to drive positive change at scale. It is respected across the whole of the South Asian diaspora and brings together people of all faiths, religions and nationalities.
*Info: British Asian Trust