A recent report by the Loomba Foundation found that almost 60 million widows live in extreme poverty causing malnutrition, bad health, starvation and physical insecurity.
Last night Cherie attended the Loomba Foundation's Third Annual Diwali dinner at the Essex House Hotel in New York to raise funds to help widows and their children and also to urge the United Nations to establish the 23 June each year as International Widows Day.
She was joined by Joanna Lumley; Patron of the Loomba Foundation, Yoko Ono; a past Honouree, Preity Zinta; International Ambassador for The Loomba Foundation and Cilla Black; this year's Honouree.
Cherie, who has been working hard behind the scenes to gain official UN recognition said
Though I don't believe that International Widows Day is going to transform the lives of widows overnight I think it will give widows organisations a day to rally around and a focus.
The Loomba Foundation, which works to alleviate the plight of widows, was launched by Raj and Veena Loomba. A recent report by the Foundation found that almost 60 million widows live in extreme poverty causing malnutrition, bad health, starvation and physical insecurity. International Widows Day was launched by the Loomba Foundation in 2005 at the House of Lords.
Last month Gabon introduced a new UN resolution to designate 23 June as United Nations International Widows Day which and now a Resolution has been passed at the third committee. This is a very significant step in the campaign to gain UN recognition for the 23 June as International Widows Day. Raj Loomba said the Loomba Foundation is hoping to encourage world leaders, relevant organisations of the United Nations system and other international organisations, as well as civil society to observe International Widows Day and to raise awareness of the plight of widows and their children around the world.
In 2000, the UN set up the millennium development goals which have a number of important aims including improving the position of women, but in all the documents drafted, widows were hardly mentioned. Cherie believes it is due to a lack of profile on the widows issue and said
I think that what we have done is raise the profile on this issue and now with the UN women's agenda we are going to hopefully see widows mainstreamed into the UN and one part of that will be International Widows Day.