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Letter of the Lords – 2 March 2015

This week’s newsletter on the work of the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords

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Raj Loomba provides sewing machines to empower Widows in India

Lord Loomba
Lord Loomba

Lib Dem Peer Lord Loomba has announced that his international charity, the Loomba Foundation, will be providing sewing machines to help empower women in India. The project, which will provide sewing machines to help 5,000 widows, has been supported by the Punjab Chief Minister and regional government.

The women will undergo training for 2 to 3 months and will each receive their own sewing machine so they can make garments.This partnership means that the widows can earn money, become self sufficient, educate their children and lead a life of dignity. 

The project also includes the set-up of a Rapid Advisory Group (RAG) in local bodies that will seek to address the problems that widows face such as violence and dealing with issues relating to inheritance rights. The RAG will provide counselling where necessary and assistance for approaching law enforcement agencies if deemed necessary. 

Lord Loomba said:

“Having been born in Dhilwan, District Kapurthala and studying at the D.A.V. College in Jallandhar, I have always been connected to the soil of Punjab, no matter where my destiny has taken me. Even though I am a parliamentarian in the UK, and my Foundation works actively to bring widows out of abject poverty in different parts of the world, nothing gives me more joy than to see my own home state joining hands for this worthy cause. 

“We celebrated India’s 68th Independence Day last week, but we are yet to ensure financial independence for millions of our widows. I hope that this partnership with the Punjab Government proves to be just the beginning of a long relationship that aims to completely eradicate the stigma and the hardships associated with widowhood across Punjab and the entire country. I therefore hope that other states in India will also come forward and join hands with The Loomba Foundation to empower widows.”

 

 

 

Raj Loomba awarded Honorary Degree by University of Northampton

Lord Loomba
Lord Loomba

After being awarded his Honorary Fellowship at the Royal and Derngate theatre today, Lord Loomba said: “I feel very honoured and proud to have received this award.

“It was a great occasion and I still can’t believe that I have been given this honour.

“Years ago, the problem of widows was completely unknown. People didn’t recognise it, they just swept it under the carpet.

“But I saw at first hand the discrimination and prejudices against my mother.

“I was only 10-years-old, so I didn’t understand what was really going on. But when I got married that all changed.

“During the wedding, the priest who was conducting my marriage turned around and asked my own mother to walk away from the alter. It is then when I got very angry and realised what was happening.

“It really inspired me to do something to change the status of widows.

“Slowly I grew up, while witnessing the suffering of my mother, and became a successful businessman.

“It was then when I decided I should do something for other unfortunate children of widows, and that’s what I am doing now.”

Full article here