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Cherie Celebrates the First International Widows' Day in New York

Cherie Celebrates the First International Widows' Day in New York

Cherie Celebrates the First International Widows' Day in New York

Cherie Celebrates the First International Widows' Day in New York

International Widows' Day was marked by Yoko Ono, a widow and supporter of the charity which aims to raise the profile of widows worldwide.

Last week Cherie visited New York as President of the Loomba Foundation. Lord Loomba who founded the charity in honour of his late mother, who died on 23 June having been left a widow in her mid-thirties, was joined by Lady Loomba and members of his family. The purpose of the visit was to celebrate with the First Lady of Gabon, Madame Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the first UN recognised International Widows' Day. The Government of Gabon sponsored the successful Resolution to recognize an International Widows Day through the United Nations in 2010.

International Widows' Day was marked by Yoko Ono, a widow and supporter of the charity which aims to raise the profile of widows worldwide, by producing a photomontage of images of mothers and children, projected onto the walls of the UN and entitled My Mommy is Beautiful; a tribute to all mothers of the world.

Reeta Sarkar also launched a series of paintings, called A Hidden Calamity, which highlighted the plight of 245 million widows and their children worldwide. The First Lady of Gabon joined the launch and praised both exhibitions for giving international profile to widows.

Mrs Blair and Lord Loomba met Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director UNWomen, the following morning to discuss how the UN could assist both the Loomba Foundation and the cause of widows and women worldwide.

They then attended a Conference sponsored by UNWomen where Panel members, Permanent Representatives at the UN, Ban Soon Taek (wife of the Secretary General) and representatives of women's organisations discussed the reasons why widows are shunned in many parts of the world, have no legal rights and are often abused. The Room was full and included representatives of the 9/11 widows who following the Conference offered their help.

Topics covered included widowhood and its social effects, how economic empowerment could assist, and how profile could be raised to benefit widows and bring more attention to them.

Whilst she was in New York Cherie was interviewed by CBS, BBC World Service and Fox TV.

View footage of the first International Widows' Day here:

To read more about IWD click here

Click here to watch BBC footage for IWD

Click here to watch Cherie's CBS interview for IWD