India urged to form commission for widows

Lord Loomba with Baroness Northover and Kasper de Graaf (File)

Lord Raj Loomba, the chairman of Lord Loomba Foundation which campaign for the rights of widows across the world, said the Indian government should create a commission for widows to provide financial and security assistance to 48 million widows living in India….reports Asian Lite News

Lord Loomba with Baroness Northover and Kasper de Graaf
Lord Loomba with Baroness Northover and Kasper de Graaf

In an exclusive interview with Asian Lite, Lord Loomba said “the UN established 8th March as International Women Day and 23rd June as International Widows Day. Therefore, it is quite logical for India to have a Commission for Women and a commission for widows side by side. He is also seeking special quota for widows in government services and educational institutes.

Lord Loomba has recently launched a project to help 5,000 widows at Vrindavan, Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh.

“About 39,000 widows are living at Vrindavan in Varansi,” said Lord Loomba. “For extending financial and security help to these people, there must be a proper system to deliver services. A commission for widows is an ideal forum to shelter and protect widows in India.”

“I would like the Government of India to earmark a special quote for jobs same as they have done for Minorities and Dalits,” Lord Loomba added. “The Indian government should tackle the plight of widows at the state level through Panchayat Raj. Widows suffer mostly in rural areas which is 70% part of India.

“In rural area, widows are abused physically, psychologically, emotionally and even sexually. In fact they are slaves in their own homes. They are uneducated and poor. They do not know who to turn to. Therefore, if there was a special person dedicated to listen and address widows complaints it will help them enormously. In addition it will be a deterrent to people who abuse widows.”

Widows in Uttar Pradesh joining a cleaning campaign
Widows in Uttar Pradesh joining a cleaning campaign

Mrs Cherie Blair QC, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, is the president of the foundation.

The Loomba Foundation is engaged in educating children of poor widows and empowering impoverished widows by providing them with vocational skills training in tailoring, computers, hair and beauty care and hospitality sector. The Foundation is providing a scholarship of Rs 500 per month per child of widows. The foundation has educated over 10.000 children and supported over 60,000 family members in 29 states in India.

Lord Loomba is also seeking the help of UN to alleviate the grievances of millions of widows spread across the world.  He will submit a major research study to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York on discrimination and prejudice against widows worldwide.

“To date we have empowered more than 10,000 impoverished widows under the age of 50 who receive professional training in tailoring for two months and upon completion of the training they are donated a foot operated sewing machine of good quality,” said Lord Loomba . “The overall cost comes to around six thousand for training and the machine. The impact of this project is 10 fold. Therefore, the empowerment project will benefit over 100,000 people.”