International Widow’s Day – June 23

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International Widows Day takes place every year on 23rd June. It was initially launched by the Loomba Foundation at the House of Lords in London in 2005. The date, 23 June, was chosen because on this day Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, the inspiration for the Foundation, became a widow.


widowsday_2013International Widows Day (IWD) is a global day of focus for effective action to raise awareness and help widows and their children around the world who are suffering through poverty, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, conflict and social injustice. There are an estimated 245 million widows and 500 million children in the world, together with their family members the number is well over a billion people. Through no fault of their own they lose their husband or father and continue to suffer for the rest of their lives through stigma, discrimination and poverty.

On the 22nd December 2010 at the 65th UN General Assembly, the United Nations recognised 23rd June as International Widows Day.

Why the UN recognized International Widows Day – 23rd June

  • 245 million widows and over 500 million children suffer in silence worldwide
  • Over 115 million widows live in poverty struggling to survive
  • Many of these women and their children are malnourished, exposed to disease, and subjected to extreme forms of deprivation
  • Widowed women experience targeted murder, rape, prostitution, forced marriage, property theft, eviction, social isolation, and physical abuse
  • 1.5 million widows’ children in the world die before their fifth birthday
  • Children of widows face horrors such as child marriage, illiteracy, loss of schooling, forced labour, human trafficking, homelessness and sexual abuse
  • HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and poverty are amongst the most prolific causes of widowhood
  • Persecution and abuse against widows and their children is not a crisis limited to the developing world, large groups of widows can also be found in Europe, including Russia and Central Asia
  • Widows in developed countries face social isolation and commonly live with severe insecurity and poverty due to lack of affordable health care and employment

Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of widows is, in effect, invisible.

Yet abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

To give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across regions and cultures, the United Nations General Assembly declared 23 June 2011 as the first-ever International Widows’ Day, to be celebrated annually.

Take Positive Action!


Visit our How to Get Involved page to find out the different ways in which you can help widows.

Any donation has a far reaching effect as it not only helps widows and their children but also family members who come to rely on the husband as the sole breadwinner. Widows therefore face an uphill task in dealing with the stigma, prejudices and ill-treatment as well as the harsh economic reality that they need to earn money to survive!!


Sewing Machines – Sponsor a Widow and help change her life for the better

Educate a Widow’s Child – Make a donation to help children go to school

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