IndiaCSR News Network
MUMBAI: Chris Parsons, international corporate lawyer, began his 1260 km Walk for Widows from BSE in Mumbai today, in the presence of Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, Ashish Chauhan, Managing Director & CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange, Deepak Amitabh, Chairman & Managing Director, PTC India Limited. Mr Parsons, a British lawyer, who has been supporting The Loomba Foundation, a UN accredited global NGO working for the cause of poor widows and their children will be walking 30 marathons in 30 days (42 Kms per day) to raise $1 million for these beneficiaries. The walkathon is expected to end in Bangalore on February 8, 2015 via Goa and Mangalore. Mr Parsons’ Walk for Widows has been supported by Bombay Stock Exchange, Tata Consultancy Services, Apollo Hospitals’ Billion Hearts Beating, PepsiCo’s Gatorade with Brightsons being the travel partner. The initiative has also received tremendous support from humanitarian lawyer and former first lady Cherie Blair CBE, QC, President, The Loomba Foundation, David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rt Hon Nick Clegg, MP Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Patron of The Loomba Foundation, Sir Richard Branson, Patron-in-Chief of The Loomba Foundation and Chris Gayle, International Cricket Star among others. Chris Parsons has already raised over $280,000 of his targeted $1million funds, which will be used to empower 5000 poor widows in Varanasi.
Before kick starting this momentous journey, Chris Parsons, said, “I am extremely honored to be associated with The Loomba Foundation. I had the privilege of meeting Lord Raj Loomba in 2011 and have been inspired by the work the Foundation has done for the rehabilitation of widows and their children around the world. The plight of widows is a largely overlooked social cause that needs awareness and attention. Besides raising funds for the cause, I believe through this walk for widows in India, I will be able to generate the desired interest in The Loomba Foundation and its dedication to provide equal opportunities and basic human rights to widows and their children.”
Lord Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman Trustee of The Loomba Foundation, who was recently conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the United Nations Association of New York, said “Chris has been a great goodwill ambassador for the Loomba Foundation and has always shown a solidarity toward our cause. We wish him all the very best and will eagerly await the successful completion of his Walk for Widows.” Lord Loomba added, “Through our ongoing research we have learnt that widows in Varanasi are divided into three categories – widows that live in ashrams, those that live on their own and a third category that resides with the family. We are planning to conduct further studies to understand the numbers in each of these categories, so that we can strategize our plans.”
In December last year, The Loomba Foundation in association with The Bombay Stock Exchange hosted a conference entitled ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Empowering Poor Widows in India’. The event encouraged corporate India to channelize their mandatory 2% Corporate Social Responsibility provision in the new Companies Act for the benefit of impoverished widows. At the conference a project of 500 sewing machines was launched jointly by The Loomba Foundation’s trustee Shamin Lalji, and patron Padamshri Vikramjit Singh Sahni, to help widows become self-sufficient by giving them a means of earning income.