Herbert Smith Freehills partner and chairman of the India practice, Chris Parsons, has launched a new initiative 'Cycling for Widows', which will see him cycle the length of India over 45 days in February and March 2020.
Chris' aim is to raise US$450,000 to help widows and their children in India through The Loomba Foundation – a charity which he has supported through a number of fund-raising challenges over the years.
In 2011, Chris undertook his first challenge where he cycled from London to Gibraltar and raised US$200,000. Not content with a fund-raising effort in Europe, Chris was keen to take on a challenge in India. In 2015, he walked and ran 30 marathons in 30 days, from Mumbai to Bangalore (over 1,260km) to celebrate his 30th anniversary at Herbert Smith Freehills. Chris raised US$300,000 for The Loomba Foundation during this challenge.
The next challenge will begin on 3 February 2020 when Chris aims to cycle 4,500km over 45 days, starting from Kanyakumari in the south to Srinagar in the north. Chris said:
“India has become a very special place for me, and it feels like my second home. Over the last 15 years, I have visited the country over 150 times, spending time with clients, teaching at law schools and engaging in various social initiatives. I have personally visited schools in Delhi where the children of widows have been educated and I have also met a number of the widows including in Varanasi who have been empowered with the support of The Loomba Foundation.
"I am feeling a little anxious as this is going to be a huge mental and physical challenge for me. At the end of the day, I am going to try my best and hope to raise much needed funds along the way."
Through research and campaigning worldwide, The Loomba Foundation is fighting to achieve its ultimate goal: to change attitudes that are deeply embedded in cultures and societies in order to eradicate once and for all the discrimination and injustice against widows in India and throughout the world.
Lord Raj Loomba CBE, founder of The Loomba Foundation, said “I have no adequate words to thank my friend, Chris, whose support for the Loomba Foundation has been immense. I am not too sure where he gets his energy to undertake such strenuous projects!”
To date, Chris has achieved over 40 percent of his target of USD$450,000.