Written by Athanasia Rodaki • Published 29th June 2015

Yesterday we celebrated the 10th anniversary of International Widows Day, a day to raise awareness about a topic that is rarely talked about: women (and their children) who after losing their husbands need to fight yet further battles –against poverty, exploitation and different forms of discrimination.

It is surprising to see how an issue that affects more than a billion people worldwide receives so little global attention. This is exactly the problem that Lord Loomba has been fighting to overcome for the past decade through a series of initiatives supported by the UN and a number of influential personalities such as Yoko Ono and Richard Branson. And it is great to see the fruit of this hard work, especially when this means changing the lives of tens of millions of widows and their families worldwide.

Last night's event was held at One George Street

Last night’s event was held at One George Street

This year’s focus is empowering more than 5,000 widows in Varanasi (known as ‘The Widow’s City), interviewing each regarding their desired career path, before making this a reality through extensive training, leaving them with employable skills and able to care for themselves and their families. The emphasis is therefore placed on initiatives that will have a long-term and sustainable positive impact on each woman’s life. Through doing so the cycle of poverty can be broken as there are at least 10 people benefitting from every widow assisted.

Yesterday’s Loomba Foundation fundraising event was marked by the moving and inspirational speeches of President Cherie Blair and Chris Parsons, who completed 30 marathons in 30 days from Mumbai to Bangalore to spread awareness and raise funds for widows.

The Loomba Foundation want widows' rights recognised in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

The Loomba Foundation want widows’ rights recognised in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The most memorable moment of yesterday’s event was, however, when Lord Loomba received an award for his exceptional offer to the cause. He, motivated by his own mother’s personal experience of being a widow, has not stopped demonstrating his dedication and determination to support widows globally in their fight for a better life.

Lord Loomba is determined to have widows’ issues acknowledged in the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals and while awareness days play a key role in reinstituting the dialogue on the various topics and causes they promote, we feel that yesterday’s International Widows Day went a step further and gave a strong message to us all.

It was a powerful call to action to stand by the side of those that need us and never forget that each and every one of us deserves to live in dignity.