Joanna Lumley OBE
Our Patron was born on 1 May 1946 in Srinagar, in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. She was the daughter of Major James Rutherford Lumley, who served the British Indian Army with the 6th Gurkha Rifles.
PENHA’s Director, Dr. Zeremariam Fre worked with Joanna Lumley in Ethiopia and Eritrea during 1994 on Comic Relief's fund raising BBC documentary. Joanna’s own concerns and passions were deeply affected by her father’s and in 2008 she became the public face of the Gurkha Justice Campaign.
By the end of May 2009, Joanna’s strong convictions and capacity for persuasion led to settlement rights in the UK being granted to all Gurkha veterans. Alongside her professional successes as an actress, Joanna has also been awarded an OBE in 1995 and honorary Doctorates from the University of Kent (1994), University of St. Andrews (2006) and Queen’s University Belfast (2008).
In July 2009, following her collaboration with our Director, Zeremariam, Joanna agreed to become PENHA’s patron. Her affiliation with PENHA is very important to our organisation because Joanna’s support for charities is always true, sincere and proactive – as with the Gurkha Justice Campaign mentioned above.
In fact, Joanna mentioned PENHA in an interview in the Guardian shortly after this.
In addition to “her Gurkha campaign and the 60 charities she supports, from Wateraid to Tibetan refugees, orphanages and schools, supporting the Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa and the Born Free Foundation, and you begin to sense that she is acutely aware of the importance of being good.” (11th. paragraph in the article below.)
To read the entire article, please follow the link http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/aug/31/joanna-lumley-interview
At the PENHA Fundraising dinner in December 2012, said:
“PENHA has such broad and almost undefinable aims and ambitions – which is to support people in their own way, in their own place and to stop the kind of people being ruled by other people. And the people who have got the nomadic spirit, the pastoralist feel – we have to help these people remain who they are and not to trammel every one into a tellable shape. I hate being told all the time, being made, put into a box, you are this kind of person, this is what you do. We don’t want that – and there is something liberating about the nomadic people, who simply move around – and incidentally are as generous and courteous as anyone I have met on the planet.”
This speech is on You Tube at the following address:
We all thank you Joanna for your support and the visibility you give to the lives of pastoralists in the Horn of Africa!!