International Widows Day raises awareness of the plight of the estimated 259 million widows around the world, over 115 million of whom live in extreme poverty and deprivation.
Widowhood can bring with it all kinds of emotional and financial hardship, but for many it is much worse. Many widows all over the world, especially those far removed from Western society, are shunned and vilified because they do not have a husband.
The first International Widows Day was launched in 2005 by Cherie Blair, the foundation’s president, and Lord Loomba, who is associated with several charitable organizations including Barnardo’s, Children in Need and OXFAM.
International Widows Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries, spotlighting the plight of widows in USA, UK, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Syria, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and South Africa.
It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is today acknowledged each year on the 23rd of June. This is the day that Lord Loomba’s mother became a widow and is marked as a day of observance within the United Nations system.
It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of one’s country of origin or inhabitance, all women who are touched by widowhood can be subject to the same (or at least similar) emotional struggles and day-to-day challenges. This is why it is important to highlight, and place into context, the significance of organizations, which aim to enrich and enhance the lives of widows throughout every country of the world.
Let’s use today to think about the strength and fortitude exhibited by all those women who have lost their life’s partner; especially those with children. The sacrifices they have to make to support their families and the need to remain consistently strong in the face of adversity.
For more information on International Widows Day, visit The Loomba Foundation website, where you are given the opportunity to donate and also learn more about the ‘Empower a Widow’ scheme.