A total of 10,000 widows in India will soon get a sewing machine and necessary training to stitch garments to make them self-reliant under a project launched by a London-based charity organisation.
"A total of 161,000 pounds was raised through auctions," Lord Raj Loomba, Founder chairman of Loomba Foundation said, at a dinner hosted at the Dorchester hotel last night to launch the International Widows Day 2013.
Besides the amount raised at the auction, several other donors have promised to donate liberally and the Government of Delhi and Punjab have promised to provide matching grant for the project, estimated to cost 500,000 pounds, Loomba said.
"We will be able to complete the project to provide a sewing machine each to 10,000 widows," Loomba said.
Speaking at the function Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, said, "the UN Women has entered into a three-year partnership with the Loomba Foundation for implementing three projects on the ground in Asia, Africa and Latin America for welfare and empowerment of women."
She noted that there are 250 million widows around the world and they are objects of exploitation, prejudice and injustice.
"We work for women empowerment and gender equality," she said.
Cherie Blair, President of the Loomba Foundation, said an estimated 500 guests are expected at the International Widows Day 2013, to be held at the Hilton hotel here on June 23, next year.
"We want to highlight the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows. To start with, we want to provide 10,000 widows a sewing machine each and training them to make garments so that they could be self-reliant. The Delhi and Punjab Governments have agreed to give matching fund for the project," Blair said.
Lord Navnit Dholakia, Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords read out a message from Nick Clegg, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, in which he lauded the efforts of the Loomba Foundation for the welfare of widows.