India January 2010
With the children at Delhi Public School
Widows in India are often left to cope on their own at a young age
Campaigning for the Loomba Trust with Preity Zinta
The primary objective of the Loomba Trust is to empower poor widows and educate their children in India and across the globe.
In January Cherie visited Delhi as part of her continued effort to raise awareness for the plight of widows and to gain support for them around the world. As president of the Loomba Trust, she hopes to help the disadvantaged and marginalised widows to empower themselves through the Trust's various projects. The primary objective of the Trust is to empower poor widows and educate their children in India and across the globe.
Single women, especially widows, who run households require a support structure and assistance in fulfilling their domestic responsibilities and also in gaining access to education, training and employment.
Following her visit to CINI in Kolkota, Cherie met His Excellency Mr Devanand Bihar, Governor of Bihar and West Bengal at Raj Bhavan, at his official residence. He spoke at a Loomba Trust Ceremony in the Residence where one hundred students were given scholarship grants by the Trust to enable them to study for a year.
Whilst in Delhi, Cherie met with Preity Zinta, the Bollywood Actress who was conferred as a Global Ambassador for the Loomba Trust at their Conference in the Indian Correspondents' Club. She and Cherie had previously met at the Diwali Celebrations in London in 2009 when Preity showed a keen interest in the work of the Trust.
After offering to take care of 34 girls at an orphanage in Rishikesh last year, Preity will now work on fund raising and further support for widows. Ms.Zinta suffered the loss of her father at a young age so she can closely relate to the suffering faced by women who lose their husbands. "I fully understand and empathise with the problems faced by widows," she said. "My mother was widowed when I was only 13. The Global focus on widows is long overdue. Development programmes with specific focus on widows and their children are vital for the improvement of women's status in society, and for their protection against exploitation and abuse. I look forward to working with The Loomba Trust, as its international brand ambassador, to ease the plight of widows in India and other countries."
The following day Cherie and Preity both attended a celebration of Lohri, the Festival of Fire marking the end of Winter, in the form of a fundraising dinner for the Trust, where Cherie spoke and also wished everyone Happy Lohri.
During her stay in Dehli a lunch was given in Cherie's honour by Meera Gandhi, a strong supporter of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, to introduce its work to a wider audience. Cherie explained the aims of the Foundation; specifically to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in countries where they lack equal opportunities and she also asked those attending the lunch for advice, assistance and future cooperation with mentoring.
Cherie then visited Delhi Public School, where she was delighted to meet with the students and where she spoke about the plight of underprivileged people in Indian society, including the plight of widows. She appealed to the audience to take up the cause of providing education to the children of poor widows and also encouraged parents and pupils to support the Loomba Trust by pledging a year's fees to educate a widow's child. Accompanied by Raj Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust, Cherie enjoyed watching a dance and drama show presented by the DPS students. Cherie then presented prizes to the students. DPS Society chairman Ashok Chandra reiterated his commitment to supporting the cause of the underprivileged.
For more information about the Loomba Trust click here
For press coverage of the visit click here