The Loomba Foundation, a UN accredited global NGO working for the cause of poor widows and their children, and BSE Ltd. (formerly known as Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd.), Asia’s first and India’s fastest Stock Exchange, today hosted a conference entitled ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Empowering Poor Widows in India’. The event encouraged corporate India to channel their mandatory 2% Corporate Social Responsibility provision in the new Companies Act for the benefit of impoverished widows.
A highlight of the conference was the launch of a project of 500 sewing machines in Mumbai jointly by The Loomba Foundation’s Trustee Mrs. Shamin Lalji and her husband Shiraz Lalji and Patron Padamshri Sh. Vikramjit Singh Sahney, to provide training to widows to help them become self-sufficient by giving them a means of earning income.
Members of Parliament from the British and Indian governments including Rt. Hon. Lord Dholakia PC OBE DL, Trustee of the Loomba Foundation and Liberal Democrats Deputy Leader, House of Lords, and benefactors and dignitaries from both countries were also present at the event, alongside Mr. Pankaj Modi from Gandhinagar, and Mr. Jaykumar Parekh, member of the Advisory Council of The Loomba Foundation. Senior representatives of hundreds of BSE-listed companies, mutual funds, brokers, investment bankers, insurance companies, analysts, underwriters, and regulators were also invited for the event. Harjiv Singh, Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, and Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Gutenberg Communications, delivered the vote of thanks.
The Chief Guest from UK, Rt. Hon. Dr. Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade, UK, said, “Women in India are breaking the glass ceiling across banking, petroleum, technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, FMCG, and other industries which is amazing. Why then, in a world of meritocracy, should a woman be bereaved of the wonderful opportunities of growth merely because she lost her husband? I am encouraged to see so many corporate leaders here today – I hope you will come forward to join hands with The Loomba Foundation in their crusade to provide equal opportunities and basic human rights to widows and their children. I also wish luck to Chris Parsons for his walk marathons in India early January to raise funds for the cause of widows.”
In his message, Sh. Devendra Fadnavis, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said, “My government is committed to improve socio-economic status of those who are downtrodden and poor. Especially we are planning to roll out development initiatives for empowering destitute, widows, and single women by setting up support centers. I am touched by the work The Loomba Foundation has been doing in empowering poor widows and their children. I am sure, with the help of social organizations and institutions we will take up this challenge of building social infrastructure.
Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, who was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the United Nations Association of New York, said, “Our Foundation has held several events to create global awareness on the plight and unmet needs of the widows, but this is perhaps the biggest contingent of business leaders I have ever seen at a single place to show solidarity for the cause. I am deeply indebted to the BSE for making this possible.” Lord Loomba thanked Rt Hon Lord Dholakia, Trustee of the The Loomba Foundation and Lib Dems Deputy Leader in the House of Lords, for presiding over the conference. In addition, he also thanked BSE for their kind contribution of Rs. 10 Lakhs to the Loomba Foundation, which will enable the Foundation to empower 200 widows in India.