India, February 2020: As per the World Widows’ Report, the global affected population numbers 258 million widows with 585 million children. Of these, 38 million widows live in extreme poverty where basic needs are unmet. In India, there are approximately 55 mn widows. Only 28 percent of them are eligible for pension and roughly, 10 percent get it.
The Loomba Foundation (TLF), a UN-accredited global charity, works towards the empowerment of widows in India through employment opportunities and educating their children.
On February 3, 2020, Chris Parsons (Chairman, Herbert Smith Freehills) on behalf of TLF, launched ‘Cycling for Widows 2020’ where he will be cycling 4,500 km across the length of India, from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, to raise awareness and funds for widows and their children in India. During the course, he will be covering cities such as Varanasi (home for 90,000 widows), Delhi, Hyderabad, Nagpur, and Lucknow. He has already raised 60 percent of the target of US $450,000. The cycling project is supported by reputed Indian Corporates such as Tech Mahindra Foundation, Tata Consultancy Services, UPL, OYO Hotels, and Homes, etc.
Chris’s next stop is at Hyderabad on Friday, February 14, 2020.
Chris is the Chairman of the global Indian Practice of Herbert Smith Freehills. Having spent over 30 years at the firm, he has over 10 years’ experience of adding value to both Indian groups and to global businesses looking to invest in India. Chris sits on the board of the UK India Business Council the primary body that promotes business relations between the UK and India. Chris helps guide the firm’s social initiatives in India which includes HSF Bridge, a project that links law students with social causes.
In 2011, Chris raised $200,000 to help educate children of widows in Delhi. In 2015, he walked 30 marathons in 30 days, from Mumbai down the coast of Maharashtra and Goa to Mangalore in Karnataka before turning east to cross the Western Ghats into Bangalore – covering 1260 km. Through this effort, he raised $300,000 for the Loomba Foundation to support 5,000 widows in Varanasi.