Almost 200 influential guests gathered at the Illumination Dinner & Concert to celebrate the progress of leading international children’s charity Lumos, with entertainment from some of the nation’s top emerging talent, at the City Winery in New York on 21 September.
On the week of the annual UN General Assembly, where President Biden urged world leaders to stand firm in their support of Ukraine, the evening felt particularly poignant with reflections on Lumos’s efforts providing humanitarian aid and support for children and families in Ukraine. The event included a pre-recorded conversation between J.K. Rowling (Lumos Founder and Life President), Oksana Markarova (Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States of America) and Daria Herasymchuk (Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights and Child Rehabilitation), and on the urgent challenges and dangers facing children and families in conflict.
Ukrainian Ambassador, Oksana Markarova, said: “We all know the figures. More than 560 days of war. More than 12 million displaced people, primarily women and children. Children are being tortured, killed, raped. We have lost so many children already from missile attacks, near the front lines, or in areas occupied by Russians. All Ukrainians are affected by the war, but the children are the most vulnerable. We are very grateful to everyone, and to Lumos, for playing an incredible part in that and for helping us save Ukrainian children.”
Lumos Founder and Life President, J.K. Rowling said: “Lumos has been dealing with the rapid evacuation of institutions in Ukraine, which has meant very vulnerable children becoming even more vulnerable in the chaos and carnage of war. Lumos has done a lot, and we’re happy about that, but there is clearly still so much more to do. The war is ongoing, and children are among the greatest sufferers.”
The event provided a call to action for people to commit resources, and thanks to Honoree Sponsors, Warner Brothers Discovery and Scholastic, 100% of funds raised through the campaign will go directly to support Lumos’s vital work.
Peter Warwick, Scholastic President & CEO said:
“Our support for Lumos runs deep, over many years. It started with our late Chairman, Dick Robinson, right back when the charity started out, and we have stood proudly by its side ever since. It is a privilege for Scholastic to have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on Lumos’s vital efforts to ensure children grow up in safe and loving families, where they can thrive and be safe.”
Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility of Warner Bros Discovery said:
“Our support of Lumos began in 2015 and even prompted the creation of the HBO documentary film. We believe in the rights of children to live full, happy lives and be raised by loving parents – and there is no better cause in the world. We are incredibly proud of our ongoing partnership with Lumos.”
Long-term supporters of Lumos and advocates for change, UBS Optimus Foundation, were honoured as part of the evening through the Richard Robinson Illumination Award in memory of the late Richard Robinson; Chairman and CEO of Scholastic. The award is presented each year to an organisation that demonstrates a deep commitment to children’s rights, literacy and education – a mission Mr. Robinson dedicated his entire life to. UBS Optimus Foundation received the award for their steadfast commitment to protect children globally, by contributing to public child protection systems, community responses and family support. The award was proudly accepted by Suni Harford, President of Asset Management and UBS Group Executive Board sponsor for Sustainability and Impact.
Lumos is an international children’s charity working to end the harm of institutionalisation and help children worldwide be reunited with safe and loving families. Today, there are an estimated 5.4 million children in institutions around the world. Research proves these institutions can harm their growth and development. And more than 80% of children in orphanages have a living parent. Lumos sheds light on the root causes of family separation – poverty, conflict, such as the war currently in Ukraine, and discrimination. To change the lives of children the charity works strategically with partners at every level to prevent family separation, to protect children and to promote care reform, moving towards a model of community–based care.
Peter McDermott, Lumos CEO, said:
“This event has provided an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on progress made, but it has also served to highlight the important work that must continue to address the stark and egregious realities facing children and families in Ukraine and around the world. Lumos remains determined and steadfast in our commitment to ensure every child grows up in a safe and loving family, and it is heartening to have so many others now join us in that commitment.”
Notes to Editors
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Lumos is fighting for every child’s right to a family by transforming care systems around the world. Our vision is a world in which all children grow up in safe and loving families. We shed light on the root causes of family separation – such as poverty, conflict, and discrimination. We press and support governments to reform care systems and, by building global expertise and skill with our partners, we show how children can be safely united with families.
Find out more www.wearelumos.org