What is International Widows Day?
The Loomba Foundation initiated International Widows’ Day in 2005. The plight of widows worldwide has been the foundation’s focus since it was established in 1997. According to its founder, Raj Loomba, women in many countries experience great hardship after their husbands die. “They are not looked after by governments or NGOs and they are shunned by society.”
The observance falls on June 23 because Loomba’s mother became a widow on that date in 1954. Cherie Blair, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, became the first Patron of the Foundation in 1998, and agreed to become the President of the Foundation. The day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is observed annually on June 23. The first officially recognized International Widows’ Day on June 23, 2011 was marked with a conference held in the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated at last years United Nations conference, “On this International Widows’ Day, let us resolve to end all discrimination against the world’s widows, and to enable them to enjoy their full human rights. The benefits will extend to their children, communities and society as a whole.”
The lot of a widow is shocking in many parts of the world, the sorrow of losing her husband compounded by cruelty and injustice. Tradition variously dictates that she is unable to work or remarry; subjected to degrading ‘cleansing’ rituals; ejected from her home; her wealth taken by the deceased husband’s relatives; banned from wearing jewelry or colored clothing; and left without any means of supporting herself or her children.
Read more about The Loomba Foundation and the wonderful work that has been done for our widowed sisters: http://www.theloombafoundation.org